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Bring back the North Quad diagonal

| Thursday, February 11, 2021

Picture this: You’re me, walking back from South Dining Hall at 3 a.m. several nights ago after a long night of proofing pages and forcing everyone else in The Observer office to listen to my music choices. As I exited the building, I was hit with a brisk negative eight-degree windchill and immediately began speed walking back toward my dorm, Farley Hall, in a way I believe would rival even Olympians.

As I rounded the corner of North Quad — the normal sign that warmth is just around the corner — I was reminded of a horrible truth, one I had deliberately pushed from my mind. The North Quad diagonal, long a staple of quad residents and NDH fans alike, has been cruelly disrupted by construction of the new Quad Lodge (North Lodge? North Quad Lodge?). In order to adapt, I was forced to take the longer route and walk by Stonehenge and BP before finally reaching my destination. In so doing, my walk was prolonged by at least three minutes. By the time I finally returned to my room, I could not feel my toes. Even my broken radiator, which sits at a comfortable 80 degrees at all times, could not remedy my frozen appendages.

I’m an English major, but I do remember basic geometry. The diagonal used to cut across North Quad forms a right triangle with the path directly parallel to the scenic Stonehenge and the horizontal walkway that stretches from BP to beyond North Dining Hall. Of this triangle, the diagonal is the hypotenuse. If you will recall the Pythagorean theorem, square of a right triangle’s hypotenuse equals the sum of the square of its sides. Thus, walking along both sides is mathematically and factually a longer route than cutting across the diagonal. Providing this shortcut in the first place was an act of pure generosity, a geometric gift. Why now obscure this path?

I am not the only North Quad resident who has noticed that our beloved diagonal (friends call her “diag”) has been ripped away from us. Farley Hall vice president, junior Jazz Ling created a GoFundMe raising money for the cause of restoring the diag to its original glory. Echoing through the halls of Farley has been a profound sense of loss. Quite frankly, I don’t think it’s dramatic to say that without the convenient path connecting Farley to LaFun, the beautiful women of Farley Hall have been robbed of an important member of our community.

I am sympathetic to the need for the University to create alternative spaces for students to safely socialize. I appreciate this effort! And while I haven’t yet ventured into Quad Lodge (South Lodge? South Quad Lodge?), I’m excited to walk in and pretend I’m in a ‘80s ski-themed murder mystery. I can’t help but notice that on South Quad, the diagonal (which, due to the windchill, creates a much less pleasant walking experience) has not been impacted. This kind of injustice will not stand. I understand South Quad is bigger, but North Quad is tired of being treated like the younger sister of South. Why must we suffer?

Still, I am not a naive woman. I understand the University is not trying to make our lives harder, but rather to help us adapt to the unique limitations of the times we face. And my mother always advised me to be a problem solver, not a problem creator. Since I have now brought this egregious issue to your attention, Notre Dame, I am prepared to offer you several solutions. The most obvious, I think, is to create a tunnel in the middle of Quad Lodge (North Lodge? North Quad Lodge?) so students wanting to take the shortcut can do so with ease. As a business economics minor, I think I can estimate with some authority that this would not be that expensive — all you have to do is cut a few holes and put up some insulation. Plus, who doesn’t love tunnels? Another solution would be to dismantle the tent and build many small igloos out of the tent material. I’m not an engineer or an architecture major, but I feel like this could be economical and sustainable, as reusing materials saves money and the planet. This would also solve another problem of the tent background noise, which makes it impossible to hear your social counterpart. Who among us hasn’t had to shout about their personal problems in the North Dining Hall tent in order to be heard by their friends?

Now that Notre Dame has received this feedback from a concerned resident, I trust I will be able to see these changes and walk to LaFun blissfully along the diagonal within a matter of days.  

My cold toes thank you.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Claire Rafford

Claire is a senior from Tempe, Arizona majoring in English and minoring in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy and Business-Economics. She peaked when her team won the Battle of the Books state championship in 2011.

Contact Claire