Editorial Board: Keep the NYBG Free


By the Editorial Board 

When incoming freshmen arrive on campus, they quickly learn about various tips, tricks and complimentary perks afforded to Fordham students from their New Student Orientation leaders, mentors and peers.

Where past leaders waxed poetic about the days when DCB worked at off-campus eateries or shared the many iterations that preceded ‘Urban Kitchen,’ today’s may reiterate the August 15 news that surprised many members of the student body: The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) will, as of September 1, no longer offer complimentary grounds admission to members of the Fordham Community. They will, however, still offer free admission on Wednesdays and Saturday mornings, in line with other places like the Bronx Zoo.

Both Fordham and the NYBG attribute the change to a disagreement over the cost of utilizing Fordham’s parking lot.

Fordham Outdoors Club has started a petition on change.org entitled “Tell Fordham and NYBG to Keep Access Free” with over 1,400 signatures at the time of publication. That number is rapidly increasing.

Our call to action is simple: if you’d like to keep access free, sign the petition. Join other students and clubs like United Student Government, Commuting Students Association, Residence Hall Association and more in supporting the effort to revert back to the previous agreement.

The petition outlines various reasons for maintaining free access. It notes that the accessible outdoor recreation provided by the Garden is good for the mind and body. It reasons that runners at Fordham may lose the safest and greenest place to exercise. And it posits that the change poses a financial burden to students and faculty. Clubs and student organizations can no longer rely on the NYBG for inexpensive programming, nor can professors take classes there for economic science field trips, nor can students use the Garden as a budget-friendly subject for photography assignments. The list goes on.

Both organizations say they would be willing to revisit the previous arrangements of the agreement. Such statements indicate that with a strong enough voice, the Fordham community might convince Fordham and the NYBG to revert to the earlier agreement, or at least have more serious talks about it.

By supporting, signing and sharing this petition, Fordham students not only amplify the statements of the Outdoors Club, but also send a clear message reverberating to the Botans and back: this is not a lost cause. We are here, and we care deeply.