You know that cult classic movie where aliens invade the earth in the form of simulacrums that hatch out of giant pea pods? Well, this is not exactly like that, but it does feel like campus has been invaded by simulacrums driving big excavators, tractors and dump trucks. Their goal? Not world domination, but the transformation of the center of campus into something more pleasing than a poke in the eye. I’m talking about that loop of asphalt that wraps around the admissions building and is the noisy province of super-woofing students’ cars, snow plows, delivery trucks and the periodic MOO!ver transit bus.
That’s all changing, as the front yard of the dining hall and Mather gets a facelift and a positive attitudinal adjustment from “driveway” to “walkway.” The sprawling asphalt is being replaced by narrower paths of paving stones, and accented by a stone-walled embankment in front of the dining hall for sitting on and discussing the finer points of existentialism. The grade will be raised up by the admissions building, for easier entry, and the mishmash of steps, railings, ramps and weeds between the dining hall and Mather will be replaced with green space and paths. It will be nothing less than a transformation, and one much more in keeping with Marlboro’s hill farm roots. You can follow the exciting changes on a webcam mounted on the dining hall, refreshing, so to speak, every two minutes.
I know, I know, I know. You’re probably thinking, “But what about four square, that game of strategy and skill, played in all kinds of weather and all kinds of footwear, perhaps the most hallowed of Marlboro athletic traditions after broomball?” The crumbling asphalt in front of the dining hall was the sacred location of countless four square tournaments that went on until it was too dark to see the ball coming at your face. What are you supposed to do, play on the hill farm lawn? It turns out, the landscape architect who designed the changes to the front yard happens to be a hardcore four square player, and he has designed a regulation-size court into the path. It almost seems too good to be true, and I wonder if he is really a simulacrum like in that old movie. If any of the excavator drivers wants to dig a new broomball stadium, I am going to start hunting for giant pea pods.