This article was published in our bimonthly satire issue: The Zircon.
Isaiah Jacobs—Staff Writer
It all started as an inside joke about three years ago. In the back corner of the science building, a handful of disgruntled students prepared to head out to the prairie for the third week in row for a class they wanted no part in. Their professor, an environmentalist if there ever was one, reiterated the importance of experiencing the beauty and grandeur of the Dordt prairie. It was in this moment that a student leaned over to his fellow peer and whispered, “We should just pave the prairie.”
And thus, a movement was born.
It did not take much for the #PaveThePrairie movement to gain traction at Dordt. Students have long complained about the lack of convenient parking around campus, especially seniors living in Kuyper. By paving at least the front portion of the prairie, enough parking would be supplied for students as well as community members who are forced to park on the street for sporting events. With a new parking lot, Dordt would no longer have to share Siberia with Sioux Center.
This means students would no longer be inconvenienced by having to move their cars to the fairgrounds whenever a big game is being played.
“I think the #PaveThePrairie movement has done a lot to raise awareness about the need for parking here at Dordt,” senior Brenda De Boer said. “People are starting to realize that we aren’t using our campus space very efficiently with that massive weed patch in our backyard.”
In addition to the parking problem, many have raised issues with the high levels of allergens generated by the prairie itself.
“Every fall when those flowers bloom, my sinuses get all messed up,” junior Kyle Vande Noor said. “It’s even worse during the spring.”
Pair these complaints with the growing concern of harassment occurring on the prairie’s path, and one may begin to also understand the need to pave the prairie.
The Dordt administration is attempting to fight the movement by utilizing the prairie for events other than a handful of STEM classes. For example, the recently-built pergola serves as a place for students to hang out for the six weeks in the school year that the weather permits. The prairie also played host to the GPAC cross country meet this season. If such a popular sport cannot rally the community behind the importance of the prairie, who knows what will.
Nevertheless, the #PaveThePrairie phenomenon has and will continue here on campus until the administration is forced to give in, one hashtag at a time.