OPINION: Down with Urban’s garden culture


Olive Lopez

Urban students enjoy a sunny day in the garden on February 19th, 2014.

On sunny days, students convene in the garden during breaks, lunch, and E periods to take advantage of San Francisco’s balmy weather.

Despite Urban’s progressive nature and appreciation of unity, one would think Urban was a middle school given the dynamics of the garden area during breaks. Boys cluster around computers, laughing rambunctiously at videos. Girls group around a table, conversing with legs and arms crossed as their eyes dart from one side of the garden to the other. And as it was in middle school, the two genders rarely mix.

Frequently, upperclassman boys spend the 15 minutes of break throwing footballs and tennis balls around, belatedly yelling “Heads up!” when nearly pegging innocent bystanders.

Enough is enough. This type of behavior brings to mind the atmosphere of an elementary school playground, is incredibly annoying and immature, and more often than not results in Dean of Students Charlotte Worsley taking away the ball in question.

I’m not trying to say that the problem lies solely with guys. Girls are equally guilty in making the garden a social nightmare. Girls pile on top of each other around a table, laughing and talking loudly in an effort to demonstrate their superiority and exclusivity. It’s no wonder many Urban students don’t like the garden and outright go out of their way to avoid it.

This division is the polar opposite of what I felt Urban was when I shadowed as a freshman, three years ago. I chose Urban in part because it seemed like such a friendly, close-knit school, but the current garden atmosphere points to the opposite.

Maybe my perspective has changed as I became a junior and moved from spending my 15 minutes of break in the student center to spending it in the garden. But there’s no denying that the dynamics that exist within the garden are prominent.

The garden has become more of a show of popularity and masculinity than an area to congregate and socialize during breaks. We’re all in high school now; stop thinking so highly of yourself, let it go, and just hang out.

The need to exhibit behavior solely to establish a social hierarchy within the school is unnerving and un-Urban.

The garden shouldn’t be stress-inducing. It shouldn’t be looked down upon to eat lunch alone in the garden, let alone be something to even worry about. We, as Urban students, need to change the way we think about the garden, and the way we interact with our classmates in the garden.