It’s increasingly popular for college and university libraries to soothe the savage undergraduate at finals time by providing a dose of contact with nature. Therapy dogs are a common choice, but the Cornell University Library went a more unusual route, installing a ”green sward” which remained there through Dec. 14.
According to Eveline Ferretti, public programs and communication administrator of the A.R. Mann Library, the idea was originally the brainchild of Gilad Meron, who graduated from the Department of Design & Environmental Analysis (DEA) last year and is now a fellow with the Center for Engaged Learning at Cornell. Meron worked with Ryan Allen-Parrot, a master’s candidate in Sustainable Design Studies, on the project.
Meron originally installed an indoor lawn as part of a 2011 exhibit on the history of Cornell’s College of Human Ecology, and it proved so popular that “Gilad and his collaborators from the DEA department are working with Gannett Health Center to repeat the mental health benefits of the grass installation,” Ferretti says. This year lawns were placed in both the Mann and Olin libraries, as well as three other locations around campus, as part of the Cognitive Restoration initiative. The project is based on Attention Restoration Theory, which says direct exposure to nature, viewing nature through windows, and even viewing images of nature are restorative.
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– By Meredith Schwartz