Spring weather is finally in the air at Northwestern, and students can finally begin to enjoy the outdoor activities that were halted by the unforgiving Iowa winter. The increasing temperatures over the past few weeks have allowed NW staples such as Spikeball, gennis and sand volleyball to make their return to the campus green.
However, games are not the only leisure activities that have experienced a long-awaited revival. The current, and hopefully permanent, absence of snow has allowed modes of transportation such as scooters, rollerblades and skateboards to hit the pavement of NW sidewalks for the first time since last fall, and students are now able to experience a little more fun as the semester begins to wind down.
On top of it being an exciting leisure activity in warm weather, some students claim that riding around campus on a set of wheels is also convenient and efficient.
“I ride to lifting, classes and the cafeteria,” said freshman elementary education major and proud electric scooter owner, Cody Moser. “I enjoy how fast I can get around campus.”
However, other students recognize that they use a type of transit to get from place to place because it can make their journey to various spots on campus much more enjoyable.
“It is really exciting to ride my electric scooter,” said freshman Jalyn Gramstad. “My favorite part about riding it is zooming around and passing people.”
On the other hand, some students at NW consider modes of transportation to be much more than an effective and thrilling way to get to class. NW senior and Orange City native Shonna Ritz prefers to use her rollerblades to venture outside of NW’s campus and meet new people along the way.
“I love rollerblading around town. Starting from the Learning Commons and going around Windmill Park is a great loop,” said Ritz. “Rollerblading is a great conversation starter and a way to get to know more people.”
Ritz also said that rollerblading has allowed her to spend time with an unofficial club on campus known as the Blade Gang. For them, wheels are not just a hobby. Instead, it is another way for the students of NW to form a sense of community and belonging.
“The Blade Gang is a group of people who have wheels on campus. We include scooters, rollerblades, skateboards and anything with wheels,” said Ritz. “There is no schedule, but we meet mainly at night. When we skate, we go around town.”
Ritz admits that her rollerblading skills can be improved upon, but that did not matter to the Blade Gang. They still invited her into the group with open arms.
“They welcomed me in with no hesitation,” said Ritz. “Any and all wheels and skill levels are accepted. [The Blade Gang] has been one of my favorite parts about rollerblading.”
As students transition into April and finals week creeps closer, the pressure of ending the semester on a high note can be stressful. Thankfully, the spring weather allows for students to use their wheels to get their minds off their homework and spend some much-needed time with their peers.
“It allows me to get outside and take a break from schoolwork,” says sophomore art and graphic design major Riley Rasmussen. “It is a great way to build community.”
Seeing the different types of wheels on campus once again can be seen as a sign of accomplishment. It marks the close of a brutal Iowa winter and another challenging semester. Now, students can finally look forward to enjoying another warm summer with their friends, family and loved ones.