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Weather, semesters limit the Oval Beach experience

Kayla Byler / Design editor

Prime tanning and free-time Frisbee on Oval Beach has been cut short with Ohio State’s semester switch, affecting one large group on campus perhaps more than any other.
First-year students, having never attended OSU under the quarter system, will have only a few weeks of warm weather to spend on the Oval this spring – a stark contrast to the roughly two months granted to upperclassmen in past years – which has some students upset.
“Volleyball, laying around, enjoying the good weather – it sounds like an awesome place to hang out,” said Hank Rumpke, a first-year in mechanical engineering. “But I haven’t gotten to experience it at all.”
Rumpke said Oval Beach is something he “definitely” wishes he could dedicate some time to, and that members of his fraternity have talked about their experiences with it.
Some students said they are unhappy that its popularity could diminish despite having already experienced Oval Beach in previous years.
“It’s fun, but there will definitely be less (people on Oval Beach),” said Rob Ellis, a third-year in finance. “I’m mad that it’s going away.”
Students studying and laying out on the Oval is something some of OSU’s university ambassadors look forward to when giving their tours.
Some ambassadors said they are relieved that the bright orange fences that were on much of the Oval were taken down last week.
“It is a big deal. We are just happy they are gone,” said Brandi Harris, a fourth-year in fashion retail studies and a university ambassador.
She said the fences made some tour guides self-conscious because the Oval did not look as nice as it could.
“The Oval is one of the construction-free places during the tour, so to have orange fencing was pretty disappointing all year,” Harris said. “We just want the university to look great.”
Harris said she always has at least two talking points about the Oval when giving her tours and they are Oval Beach and the Involvement Fair.
“I have always talked about Oval Beach. We all have our own jokes about it,” she said.
Although OSU freshmen have about one month left to spend on and get acquainted with the university’s largest quad before finals end, the weather might not work in their favor.
Average temperatures for April in Ohio hit about 65 degrees, according to weather.com – warm, but not exactly break-out-the-swimsuits weather. On the quarter system, freshmen had an average of 75 degrees to look forward to in May.
However, even if weather permits, not all freshmen said they are bothered by the lack of time afforded for Oval Beach this year.
Isaac Hammonds, a first-year in criminology, said he is familiar with Oval Beach because his brother is a senior at OSU and isn’t too concerned with only having it around for three or four weeks.
“I’ve never experienced it, so I don’t really know what I’m missing. I don’t have anything to compare it to,” he said.
Hammonds said OSU-specific activities like spending time on Oval Beach did not influence his decision when choosing a school, so the semester switch shortening the spring season isn’t a big issue to him.
OSU graduate teaching associate in Spanish and Portuguese Daniela Salcedo has an office in Hagerty Hall that overlooks the Oval. The students laying out in the sun do not bother her as much as the numerous frisbees flying around. However, the whole concept of Oval Beach confuses her.
“Especially since I am a foreigner and I am not from here, it impacts me as I always interpret it as a cultural difference or cultural shock more or less, but I have seen my American colleagues also being intrigued by it. We do not understand exactly what is going on,” Salcedo said.
The graduate student relates Oval Beach as having to do more with undergraduates than older students such as herself.
While Oval Beach has become somewhat of a tradition at OSU, without the couple of months’ warm weather in the past, it might not have been. However, Ellis said he doesn’t think Oval Beach will disappear just because students might spend less time on campus in spring temperatures.
“I still think it might be around, especially during the May Session, because I know a lot of people that are staying for May or even for graduation right after exams,” Ellis said. “But even after that, it’s five weeks we’re not in school.”

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