Facilities and Operations Adds More Months for Reservable Events and Activities on South Field Lawns


Photo credit: Eileen Barroso

December 14, 2015 - Columbia University Facilities and Operations today announced a new policy that adds approximately three additional months annually where the University community can reserve South Field lawns for their events and activities.

Under the new policy, South Lawn East, South Lawn West and Butler Lawn are available for reservation beginning on April 1 and extending through the last day of undergraduate classes of the fall semester in December.  The new policy takes effect beginning in the 2016 spring semester.

"In the heart of lower campus, the South Field lawns are the picturesque landscape that are the foundation to a beautiful campus and one of the most sought after venues for activities because of their convenient location and unique attributes," said Don Schlosser, assistant vice president, Campus Operations.  "The goal is to balance these competing priorities by providing maximum access to the lawns for the University community while maintaining the lawns' natural beauty that people inside and outside the University have come to expect.  When constraints on the lawn maintenance dynamics change, the level of access changes accordingly, as was the case with this policy change."

Under the former policy, the three South Field lawns could be reserved beginning the first Monday following April 21 through to the first Monday following October 21.

"Given that the South Field lawn availability becomes limited toward the end of April due to commencement setup, the new April 1 reservation start adds valuable time for events and activities just as the weather begins to turn for the better in the spring," continued Schlosser.

Several recent changes loosened maintenance constraints which allowed for the change in the South Field lawns reservation policy to occur.  Beginning in the fall of 2014, convocation was moved from the South Field lawns to Low Plaza, thereby eliminating the severe stress and recovery the lawns underwent at the beginning of the fall semester.

In the spring semester, the confluence of senior dinner, alumni weekend, the 25-year dinner, and commencement - which grew from only three ceremonies in 2002 (University Commencement and Columbia College and SEAS Class Days) to now more than ten class day ceremonies and events, has led to a decision to resod the South Field lawns at the completion of the events in early summer each year. 

All rules pertaining to lawn closures due to inclement weather remain in effect with the revised policy.  Lawns will remain managed by the flag system.  Current South Field lawns flag conditions are available at facilities.columbia.edu.

Full text of the new policy (available at http://uem.columbia.edu/policies-by-subject/9):

Outdoor spaces around campus can be reserved for events and activities between 8:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m.  Overnight activities and/or events are prohibited.

  • Hardscapes are available year-round for events.
  • The following lawns are reservable from April 1st through the last day of undergraduate classes of the fall semester: South Lawn East, South Lawn West, and Butler Lawn.
  • All other reservable lawns are available for reservation between the first Monday following April 21 through the first Monday after October 21.

*See a listing of outdoor event space or review a map.