Dreams of a Haight-Ashbury, bohemian community

by Staff

I love San Diego State, but I must admit it doesn’t fit the dreams of college that I had in my youth.

The sprawling concrete walkways, manicured flowers and endless palm trees that cover these grounds are, I guess, appropriate for a Southern California college. The fast food eateries are abundant, surely bring in revenue and might be the most comforting thing for a homesick freshman. Everything on the campus seems to make sense.

But I have to wonder what it would be like if a few “small” improvements were made to the campus, to create a utopian college reality.

Imagine a campus with green grass as far as the eye can see and concrete walking paths occupying only the most minimal amount of ground. Palm trees are great, but we need to have more sycamores, oaks and California-native trees such as toyon and Catalina ironwood to provide cool, tranquil shade for all our world-weary students.

Wildflowers would bloom down the middle of Centennial Way and patches of native flora would replace the manicured planter boxes.

If I had a say, there might also be a few generations of students who could enjoy college life without the noise, pollution and general nuisance of the near-daily construction that we must presently live with. Of course, a truly great campus requires some renovations, but all new construction would have to be conducted during the spring and winter breaks, which would be extended if necessary. The hustle and bustle of the SDSU campus would be a little slower, which would suit the new botanical garden surroundings.

Rather than convening around the concrete jungle of the Free Speech Steps, a giant duck pond in front of Hepner Hall would provide a new center for the campus. Not only would animal lovers enjoy feeding the ducks, but it might also actually encourage more of us to sit down and talk to one another. The little turtle pond by Scripps Cottage is great, but how many of us actually break from our hectic days to convene around it? Not many.

If there were more inspirational surroundings on campus, we might just see more artists, too. We’ve all seen vivacious people express themselves on the Free Speech Steps, but what we’re missing is more music and poetry. Some of the earliest musical performances I attended were on a college campus near my hometown. Live music is only played occasionally on our campus, but an ideal university would have a venue for live music that regularly draws eclectic performers to suit any student’s tastes.

The most important change on our campus would involve the food options. While I try to bring my own snacks, eating campus food is sometimes unavoidable. The same problems occur every time – few choices for vegetarians, next to nothing for vegans. If I could redo this campus, the first addition would be a restaurant – not a cafeteria – where organic, vegetarian food is served. I know my food choices aren’t for everyone, but exposing adults to healthy and cruelty-free eating is just as important as offering students a good education.

My vision for this campus would make SDSU the bohemian dream of my childhood dreams.

Gaia Veenis is a journalism senior.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Daily Aztec. Send e-mail to letters@thedailyaztec.com. Anonymous letters will not be printed – include your full name, major and year in school.

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