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The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
By James Carter, Staff Writer • 1:28 am
Opinion | NHL needs to bring specialty jerseys back
By Jameson Keebler, Senior Staff Columnist • June 19, 2024
Opinion | Hold your elected officials morally responsible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 18, 2024

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Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
By James Carter, Staff Writer • 1:28 am
Opinion | NHL needs to bring specialty jerseys back
By Jameson Keebler, Senior Staff Columnist • June 19, 2024
Opinion | Hold your elected officials morally responsible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 18, 2024

Satire | ‘It’s about progress’: Students find comfort in the increasing lack of green space on campus in favor of construction

Satire+%7C+%E2%80%98It%E2%80%99s+about+progress%E2%80%99%3A+Students+find+comfort+in+the+increasing+lack+of+green+space+on+campus+in+favor+of+construction
Joy Zhang | Staff Illustrator

With spring just around the corner, Pittsburgh has seen an increasing number of pleasant, sunny days. When the warmth hits Oakland, you can find students lounging outside, filling up every green space available on campus. In fact, on the sunny days before spring break, every available green space was filled up, providing challenges for many students looking for space to lounge in the sunshine. 

“I ended up sitting on the pavement in Schenley Plaza,” said Allie Resler. “It hurt.” 

In recent years, Pitt’s Campus Master Plan has identified and began construction on key spots on campus to construct new buildings. Places like the grassy bowl near the Pete and that parklet on Fifth Avenue have already faced their doom in the face of Oakland’s improvement endeavors. The changes have also affected the campus ecosystem, with the loss of grass in the latter location displacing campus celebrities, the Fifth Avenue pigeons.

Despite certain annoyances, some members of the Pitt community have expressed preference for the construction over green space. 

“It gives me such hope to see a gray, sludgy construction site on campus,” said Samantha Clifton. “It’s just so great to see our school improving things.” 

Despite Clifton’s affinity for the construction, she also enjoyed the sunshine in the grass a few weeks ago, claiming she very easily found a place to situate outside. 

“If you’re inventive, you can really find space anywhere,” Clifton said. “My friends and I managed to play spike ball over some peoples’ heads in Schenley Plaza. And they left after a few minutes, so really, it wasn’t that bad. Sometimes you just gotta stick it out until it clears up.” 

2015 alum Nick Daniels was also in town during those lucky few days and found himself lamenting what he missed out on, having graduated nearly a decade ago. 

“When I come back and I see the sidewalks blocked off, that’s when I get jealous,” Daniels said. “That’s when I know I’m missing out.” 

Daniels spent his time with a few other Pitt alumni navigating through students settled on the Cathedral lawn, until they gave up on finding a place to sit and ventured up to the Pete walkway to admire the construction in the green space formerly known as the bowl. The bowl has had its lawn overturned and razed in order to accommodate for Pitt’s Victory Heights project

Daniels says he did not understand the concern about losing green space on campus. 

“I mean, I saw green space everywhere, just like in my day,” Daniels said. “No one was out lounging on that little patch of grass right in front of the Pete. Why not there, huh?” 

Resler, however, finds no inspiration in the idea of construction, calling it “exhausting.” 

“I’ve been trying my hardest to find enjoyment in the handfuls of grass that have popped up from the mulch behind Hillman, but it does very little for me,” Resler said. 

Resler, like many students, chose to attend Pitt because of its pleasant mix of urban living and nature on campus. She and her parents found the campus a charming place that met Resler’s needs of both a good education and a connection to nature. But as a student here, Resler has realized it just hasn’t been enough. 

“When nice days happen, it really just goes to show that there isn’t enough green space for everyone,” Resler said on the subject of Schenley Plaza being too crowded. “And the University is not making attempts to accommodate us all.” 

Resler has found the increasing lack of green space in Oakland, including the UPMC construction project on Fifth Avenue and De Soto Street, has negatively affected her mental health. She laments the lack of opportunities to look at nature on the way to class everyday. 

However, Clifton and Daniels did not express the same concerns about the connection between mental health and green space. 

Daniels expressed sympathy for the sports teams whose primary practice facilities will be located in the new Victory Heights building upon its completion. 

“Has anyone thought about the mental health of students who have to walk all the way to the Fitzgerald to practice?” Daniels said. “I just think we need to think about how we’re helping athletes. Because no one wants to think about them, but someone’s gotta.” 

Clifton justified the University’s construction.

“I mean, it’s about progress. Maybe we’re losing mental health, but in the end, we’re balancing it out with progress. That’s improvement.” 

Daniels also expressed concerns about students’ physical health. “I mean, some people are actually allergic to grass, so… I think it’s probably good that there’s less.” 

Anna would like to remind everyone that Schenley Plaza was a parking lot once in Pittsburgh’s not-too-distant history. It’s never too late to reinstall green space. You can reach her at [email protected]

About the Contributor
Anna Ehlers, Staff Writer