Northwestern’s campus has been blessed with the presence of an ice-skating rink for two years now. Unfortunately, I have only seen one group use the ice-skating rink ever – and that was a local family using it over winter break. As an avid pickup hockey player, I was thrilled to have an ice-skating rink on campus, but the lack of walls to block rogue pucks and catch inexperienced skaters crushed my happiness. In addition to my sadness, the refreezing of the run-off from the rink onto the sidewalk has been an ankle-breaking hazard for many Courtyard Village and Bolks residents.
As spring has started to show its face and the contents of the rink have turned to liquid, the rink has taken on a new job. This past week-and-a-half, I have seen it used more as a swimming pool than a skating rink. Here are some suggestions as to what the rink could be used for besides an ice-skating rink.
First, you could use it as a reflecting pool or meditation pond. Imagine a partnership between Student Life and the Biology Department. Student Life provides the thawed rink while the biology department plants native foliage and stocks it with fish to add to the aesthetic of a relaxing and beautiful place on campus.
Since life is full of ups and downs, this pond would be a great place to ponder. As you gaze into the pond and hear the trickling water, you might be able to wrestle with the regrets you made over the weekend or go over thesis ideas for your next big paper. Instantly, your anxiety would go away, and your burdens would feel a bit lighter.
This pond might even become a place where people make wishes. The Trevi fountain of NW? Let’s be honest, wouldn’t it be nice to rely on wishes to get you through a semester of struggle? As you walk past the body of water headed to that big test that you wish you studied for, or just hoping to finally get past the talking stage with your gym crush, toss a penny in and say a wish. Then maybe, just maybe, your wish will come true.
Lastly, since students have already started to use the thawed rink as a place to take a dip, it might be successful to embrace the space as a splash pad or swimming pool. I think students would love to take a dip after a long day, and athletes could ease their sore muscles after a tough practice or workout. The campus dogs would love to splash around in the refreshing water, and it’s the perfect depth for Jason and Alexia’s daughter Ellen to take early swimming lessons or cool off on a hot day.
So the ice skating rink wasn’t a success – at least the college has the materials to redeem this situation and provides something else for the campus. It’s worth a shot!