TOP 5 Unrecognized Threats in a Stroll Across Campus

5. The cyclist  

We’ve all seen them. They bike across campus and along the sidewalks, often having to creep behind students at a glacial pace. Recent studies predict the highest probability for collision is in rounding the corner of the Stevenson library that a person reaches just after crossing the bridge. Thankfully we have seen few collisions so far but remember to stay alert.

4. The magnolia leaf

This one is perhaps the most unrecognized threat of all. Just another part of the scenery, a defining feature of much of the geography, right? Think again. Often the leaves are harmless; they crackle underfoot and allow you to carry on about your merry way. Other times, though, when their smooth sides are face down and you step on them just so, you’re suddenly grasping the air for balance, hoping not to wipe out.

These leaves are banana peels in disguise. That’s right. The banana peels in cartoons, the ones where the bad guy steps and slips on the banana peel and gets caught? Yes, the magnolia leaf is the banana peel 2.0, refined but still natural. Be careful where you tread, my friend.

3. The acorn

All day the squirrels stand in the branches, munching on acorns only to toss them to the ground below. While few people have reportedly been bonked by the discarded snacks, they remain a danger. In the grand scheme of things, the acorn is essentially the same size as the coconut. The downward dive of the coconut is a well-known threat, occasionally fatal, so why are we so much less concerned about the acorn?

2. The off-brand sidewalk

So many of Vandy’s inclined sidewalks are exactly what a mindless walker would expect: smooth rises, evenly increasing elevations, nothing too extraordianry. However, not all sidewalks are the same. Some of the campus’s sidewalks feel the need to repeatedly rise then plateau, rise then plateau, rise then plateau. Such a pattern makes for disoriented, unexpected, and very undesirable stumbles. The sidewalk stretching from the Wyatt Center to Peabody is perhaps the most notable example of this threat. Between the threats of magnolia leaves and off-brand sidewalks, walking is more dangerous than ever.  

Readers should thank Brooke Gallaway for the recognition of this threat. We would also like to thank Maeghan Grady for her contribution to the development of Brooke’s research. Thank you, Brook and Megan. You have likely saved many of us from great future peril.  

1. The mosquito

Okay okay. The mosquitos are very much a recognized threat, but it seems wrong not to include them on a list of warnings. They are the nemesis of students who simply want to sit on the lawn and enjoy the nice weather or maybe eat a meal with a friend on the patio. It is scientifically impossible for any Vanderbilt student to not have received at least one mosquito bite in the span of the last three weeks. In a group effort to drive the mosquito population to starvation, all students should cover as much skin as possible when going out. Snow gear (ski masks, goggles, gloves, full snowsuits, layered shirts and pants) is the most strongly suggested covering.