The beginning of the school year signals new classes, new professors, new students and the conversion of The Quad into a human traffic jam.
This cornerstone of campus, lined with scenic trees and iconic statues, has turned into one of the most frustrating stretches of campus. In a school with ever-increasing enrollment numbers and increasingly larger freshman classes, The Quad has become overcrowded —not only with people, but groups recruiting students to join their cause.
Organizations clutter The Quad, handing out fliers, asking for money for philanthropy and bombarding students in an inefficient manner. This creates near chaos in the flow of traffic with people stopping, pushing, shoving and trying to make it to class.
Students should not have to strategically tiptoe around organizations playing washers at their booths and people handing them fliers that will end up littering the campus. The university should more closely enforce rules already in place and extend the area that clubs can set up to help everyone’s day move a little faster. The Quad does not have to be a constantly congested mess.
The Farmer’s Market held in The Quad on the last Thursday of every month is a prime example of how students getting to and from class can get positive exposure to booths promoting a good or group. Students do not feel rushed and can move easily from booth to booth because they are not being screamed at, pestered or handed neon-colored fliers in the middle of the walkway. Students with no desire to browse can easily continue on to their destination.
While clubs and organizations have the right to be in The Quad to promote and recruit, there needs to be some order to the system. There are rules in place concerning how big a group’s setup can be and how far into the walkway they can stray. While more closely enforcing these rules would be ideal to relieve some of the congestion, devoting resources to police student organizations may not be the most feasible option for the university.
Limiting the number of groups that can set up tables in The Quad would be a better and more controllable way to avoid pileups in front of Evans Liberal Arts and Taylor-Murphy History building. There would be more room for students to make it through The Quad unobstructed, with fewer groups in the tight area, and less interruption for the students who want to find out more about a group.
Limiting the number of groups in The Quad does not have to put a strain on the groups who want exposure. Tables and tents could be set up along the walkway next to the Bobcat statue, which has equally heavy flows of traffic from the bus loop. Additionally, booths could be set up all the way up to LBJ Student Center, where few booths are ever placed.