The Front Lawn of Old Main, originally the pasture of McIlroy farm, remains an informal gathering place for between-class study, afternoon pickup games of football, and quiet meditation in the evening. Today it's also an arboretum.
Keep Off the Grass
Over the years, The University Weekly and The Arkansas Traveler ran their share of milquetoast editorials encouraging students to keep off the grass and maintain a pretty campus.
Editor Ashley Kelley and The Traveler editorial board, however, took the tried form and used it to editorialize against a proposal for a new building on the southeast corner of the university's Front Lawn. In 1998, a consulting firm had been hired by the university to develop a master plan for future development of the campus. Among its recommendations was one to add a building, probably to house the School of Architecture, at the corner of Dickson Street and Arkansas Avenue.
The proposal infuriated students, faculty and alumni alike, who perceived the Front Lawn and the southeast entrance as sacred sites, but the consultants pointed out that even with the addition of another building, Arkansas would still have a green larger than Harvard Yard. In an editorial titled "Keep Off the Grass," The Traveler disagreed:
What kind of goal is that? Our beautiful arboretum beats Harvard’s rinky-dink yard any day. Here in Arkansas, we have more room to spread out, and the UA shouldn’t relinquish the most beautiful spot on campus to put up another architectural wonder like the Science and Engineering Building. ... The design team needs to leave well enough alone when it comes to the Old Main lawn.”
The Traveler and the campus community prevailed.
The Arkansas Traveler. February 25, 1998.