I know that advocating for Colgate’s campus to be more walkable may seem pointless given this school’s characteristically steep surroundings and the perpetual layer of ice that coats the sidewalks, but hear me out. One of the reasons I came to Colgate is because of its undeniably beautiful surroundings. Even on the darkest and snowiest of winter days, I have never felt disappointed with the stunning aesthetic of Willow trees, magnificent stone building exteriors and the backdrop of serene rural hills. However, it’s hard to enjoy these stunning surroundings from the inside of a tinted-window cruiser or from the trunk of the friend’s car you piled into when you heard someone was giving rides.
It’s no secret that most students rely on cars and Cruisers to transport them around this campus. All you have to do is look down Broad Street and count the number of people you see walking with backpacks on. Spoiler alert: it’s rarely more than 3. However, at other schools, this isn’t the case. The walking culture at other colleges, even those submerged in harsh winter climates, is active and social. Not only does this walking culture save gas money, benefit the environment and eliminate the stress of fighting for parking spots—it also has a powerful psychological benefit.
Most people have been told their whole lives that walking is “good for you” both physically and mentally. However, it’s only when you really commit to walking that you start to notice this. Walking to and from class shouldn’t be a strenuous inconvenience, it should actually be seen as a privilege. The ability to connect with your mind, exercise your body and appreciate Colgate’s extraordinary natural beauty all at the same time is something students can’t get anywhere else.
I’m not asking for better shoveling or more heated sidewalks. I’m not telling students to ditch their cars and I’m definitely not telling Cruiser drivers to abandon their routes. Rather, I just want to put on a piece of advice I wish I appreciated sooner. Next time you’re beat from your back-to-back 12:20, 1:20, 2:45—do not head to your cubicle right away. Go for a walk.