If any of you have been on my Tufts tour, you may remember me huffing and puffing as I walked up the steps next to the president’s lawn, enthusiastically…
Sledding on the President’s Lawn is right up there with some of Tufts’ most beloved traditions, from the Illumination Ceremony to paining the cannon. With the first snowfall, this popular outdoor study space becomes a wintry attraction for Tufts students and community members alike. By this point in the year, we have reached peak sledding season: just warm enough not to freeze, and cold enough for previous sledders to have formed perfectly packed sledding routes. So, with only so many snowy, wintry days left in my time on the Hill and the weather getting warmer every week, I set my sights on going sledding down the President’s Lawn (at least) one more time.
In college, of course, you are unlikely to have a sled laying around your dorm room (although I am always surprised by the number of people who do). The challenge, then, is to gather whatever smooth, slippery things you can find and make it work. My housemates and I got to work flattening old cardboard boxes and covering them with duct-taped garbage bags, not to mention scouring our rooms for the lids to plastic storage bins and those zippered plastic bags that bedsheets come in. As we headed off to the President’s Lawn, makeshift sleds in tow, we felt equally parts giddy and doubtful that our “sleds” would take us down the hill.
I love that the President’s Lawn brings families, children, and college students together in pursuit of the delight of a speedy sled run: it’s a reminder of just how the wide-reaching the Tufts community is. As we climbed up the hill, we watched kids in inner tubes scream over snow jumps and college students test out their own makeshift sleds (with varying degrees of success). I, for my part, was just excited to go sledding for the first time since the one and only snow day I ever had at Tufts, during my first year.
Heading down the hill on my zippered plastic bag, I may not have gone as fast as the time I went kayak-sledding down the lawn (courtesy of the Tufts Mountain Club), but I was just as happy. The garbage-bag-wrapped cardboard sleds, it turns out, didn’t handle the snow very well, but my housemates and I decided that the outing was a resounding success, with fresh air, snow, and laughter all around. I would argue that half of the fun of sledding in college is making it work – we may not have had sleds or proper snow gear, but it was all the more memorable because of it.