Cornell University students finding solace on indoor library lawns

Potted plants and comfortable chairs are placed around the grass, encouraging students to lounge there during one of the most stressful times of the academic year.

Sections of turf are creating grassy oases of calm in the lobbies of Cornell Uni
Sections of turf are creating grassy oases of calm in the lobbies of Cornell University’s Olin and Mann libraries, as well as Duffield Hall and the Physical Sciences Building.
December 06, 2012

Students studying for finals at Cornell University are finding solace from a little piece of the outdoors that came inside this week, thanks to some creative minds at the school’s Department of Design and Environmental Analysis.

Sections of turf are creating grassy oases of calm in the lobbies of Olin and Mann libraries, as well as Duffield Hall and the Physical Sciences Building. Potted plants and comfortable chairs are placed around the grass, encouraging students to lounge there during one of the most stressful times of the academic year.

Senior Ryan Allen-Parrot and junior Gilad Meron installed the projects, along with a “small army of people working with them,” said Eveline Ferretti, the library’s public programs and communications administrator.

Meron first installed a lawn in Mann Library in the fall, noting that "it's great to see people willing to lay down in the grass and just relax there. The main goal is really to make people happy."

Marcia Eames-Sheavly, a senior extension associate at Cornell and director of the Garden-Based Learning program, said she understands the sod’s calming lure.

“Sod furniture is thrilling, since, unlike other horticultural art, which may require a long period of time to come to life, it offers instant gratification. Students have responded to the joy of working hard and collaboratively, shoulder to shoulder, to plan and implement them, and then, to enjoy the seating, and witness others doing the same,” Eames-Sheavly said. “We know from research that time spent in nature fosters diverse facets of our well-being, from cognitive function, to lower stress levels. They are easy to create, and do not require elaborate materials.”

For tips on how to create your own indoor sod furniture or lawn, go to: http://www.hort.cornell.edu/livingsculpture/turf_sod/index.htm. +

         
 

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