Down the drain.
Ohio State students waited three years for Mirror Lake to reopen following construction, itching at the chance to once again jump into the glorified pond to celebrate the “Hate Michigan” week.
However, in an effort to prevent the jump from happening this year, Ohio State drained the lake of most of its water, turning the pond into a puddle, with only residual water and the day’s rain hovering over the mud floor.
Among the many proposals presented by students in an effort to replace the Mirror Lake jump — jump in the Olentangy River, roll in the mud, stay warm at home on a cold November night — there was one that truly encapsulates the idea of replacing the jump: Bring a bucket of water to Mirror Lake and refill it the old fashioned way.
And how many buckets would it take? If the lake is empty, it will take 166,625. In other words, each student would have to take about three buckets to the lake.
Needless to say, that proposal sounds ridiculous, a concept with little chance of success even if there was a massive amount of participation.
It has found some traction with Arouse OSU, a student-run radio organization that created a Facebook event titled, “Bring a bucket of water to mirror lake,” complete with various memes and a time for when the event would take place.
Grayson Kelly, a third-year in communication and president of Arouse OSU, said the idea developed when students received the email from Ohio State announcing the draining of the lake. Recalling a similar idea by The Sundial, a student-run humor magazine, to fill Mirror Lake up in May to protest the closure of several bars, he and his friends thought to post about it on Facebook.
The idea to jump in is, “what I think we all realize is just a satirical joke,” Kelly said. He said only 1,500 people have liked the page on Facebook and that nobody is taking it too seriously.
However, he believes this concept to be more plausible than the idea of jumping in the Olentangy River.
“I would arguably say filling up Mirror Lake is more plausible because I’ve heard some bad things about the water quality of the Olentangy,” Kelly said. “I wouldn’t recommend anyone do that.”
But how realistic is it to fill up Mirror Lake with buckets of water?
For starters, Mirror Lake has the capacity to hold approximately 666,500 gallons of water, according to Dan Hedman, Ohio State Office of Administration and Planning spokesman. The university has a student population of 61,170 at the Columbus campus, according to its 2018 enrollment report.
It should already be clear that there would have to be a massive amount of participation in order for this pipe dream to flow with water. But now, let’s take a look at the buckets.
Most Ohio State students likely do not have a collection of buckets lying around at home. Fortunately, there are plenty of solutions to that. Remember how Ohio State just brought a Target to campus? You might as well say now they brought the buckets to you. Or at least some of them.
Target’s website lists several buckets that could work for all your Mirror Lake transportation needs. There are several Sterilite four-gallon buckets for sale at $4.99 a pop and some MyRide Wash Bucket three-gallon buckets at $6.99. Between the cost, storage capacity and thicker handle that would make it easier on the hands, Sterilite looks like the way to go.
How many buckets would it take then to fill all that up? If students choose to go with the four-gallon buckets, it will take 166,625 buckets. If they’re all the four-gallon buckets, that will cost $831,458.75. Seems unlikely there are that many buckets for sale in Columbus.
There is also a bucket on wheels, another fine product by Sterilite that holds five gallons of water and is on sale for $11.99. If students are really feeling adventurous, they can also purchase one of several Coleman or Igloo coolers for sale that would really fill the void in the lake. However, the idea that has circulated has been to bring buckets to fill the lake. So we won’t get into coolers.
If every student on the Columbus campus participates, they will need to average 10.9 gallons of water per person. The lake is already still a little filled, however, and it certainly does not have to reach capacity. So let’s say 350,000 gallons of water is the magic number. That brings it down to 5.27 gallons per person.
Of course, not everyone would participate. There are some people out there who might view this idea as “crazy” or “nonsense.” But there are dreamers on this Ohio State campus. Students who say, “Yeah, I’ll drag a bucket full of water in my swimsuit to an empty pond just so I can jump in it and risk getting arrested.”
If 350,000 is the number to hit, that means that there would need to be 43,750 students who each come prepared with two four-gallon buckets filled to the brim.
Two people who have already paid Mirror Lake a visit over the weekend, just without buckets, were presented with summonses to Franklin County Municipal Court. And while a large crowd would be tougher to arrest, the numbers just don’t quite add up for filling the lake with water to be anything more than a pipe dream.