As a Student Phonathon Caller, I get the chance to speak to dozens of alumni every term. One of my favorite stories I have heard while working this job was one from a very old alumna. She shared that she and her friend, back in the 60s or so, would patiently wait until 2 a.m. on a Friday or Saturday, and then dress up like old Victorian ghosts. They had bought special white dresses and petticoats, would have white boots and wigs, and would paint their faces bright white. You get the picture. Next, they would sneak over to Main Hall green. At this time, Lawrence had big wood-and-chain swings hanging from the oak trees. This woman and her friend would swing and giggle and shriek at all of the drunk people stumbling back to their rooms and scare the s*** out of them. They would laugh and laugh and then call it a night. Perfect weekend fun. The woman said that she and her friends would do this all the time when they were here and, in the Halloween spirit, I thought it would be prudent to share this tale with the rest of the student body.
However, when remembering this story, it made me think about the current swing-less status of Lawrence University. Not to be that person, but many other colleges I visited before deciding on Lawrence had either a swing set or a playground or large big-boy swings like the alumna described. Macalester does. Grinnell does. My community college back home does. Why don’t we? We did at one point, but something happened and now we don’t. So let me ask that again. Why doesn’t Lawrence have swings?
I must confess that I am a playground addict. I love them. I will walk to the park behind Plantz in the coldest of winter nights just to swing for five minutes before I feel like I have frostbite and have to run back to my room. I believe that people our age truly forget how fun these things are. That silly sinking feeling when you close your eyes, how satisfying it was to get your swing to go as high as it would go (you almost went all the way around!), and don’t forget feeling like the biggest bad-a** in the world when you jumped off and landed perfectly on the ground. I want to get that back for all of us, without having to trespass on city property after dark to do it—also, it would be nice if we had access to swings that were made to fit our adult-sized butts.
Swings are great. Swing sets are great. If you don’t believe me at this point, picture this: finals week, you’re stressed and tired and grumpy, but you take a study break to get some fresh air and you swing among the oak trees in front of Main Hall. How about kicking the colorful leaves up off of the ground every time you pump your legs, or spraying snow on your friends? If you’re feeling vain, imagine the Snapchat stories, the Instagram videos. The opportunities for wholesome, playground fun are endless.
So let’s get together and make this things happen. I want to be able to have a good swing-sesh before the air gets so cold I can’t breathe. Think of the fun.
Let’s do this.