Adirondack chairs. Fire pits. Those lights that make you feel like you’re at an outdoor coffee shop in a gentrified neighborhood of your nearest major city. You know it as Library Lawn! One day it wasn’t there, and the next day you couldn’t get a seat. But how did campus’s favorite attraction come to be?
During an SAO Zoom meeting early this fall, programming director Melissa Yates was scrolling through Pinterest while her colleagues discussed all the ways they could lure students to events by promising to provide miniature bundt cakes. Yates pretended to listen as she put “modern chic backyard patio vibes” into the Pinterest search bar, something she’d gotten into while watching hours of “House Hunters” during quarantine.
Her trance was broken when someone asked if she had any ideas for the semester. Panicked, Yates swiped back into the Zoom window and stared at her expectant colleagues. “How about...” she swiped back to Pinterest and called out the first thing she saw. “Something with Adirondack chairs!” A few people looked confused. She scrolled down the page to the next image. “And ... fires! Gas fire pits! Those are HUGE right now.” Her SAO colleagues started nodding. Scroll. “Pergolas! Put up some pergolas, yes, definitely. And what about...” Scroll. “String lights. NOTHING gets the 18-22 demographic out of the dorm like a well-placed strand of Edison bulbs.”
By this point, the entire Zoom meeting had put the tiny clapping icon in the corner of their video boxes, praising Yates for her creative genius and for coming to the meeting so well-prepared.
One colleague expressed concern. “I see your vision. Let’s make a mood board right away. But do you think it clashes too much with Notre Dame’s collegiate gothic architectural style?”
Yates told him confidently, “Collegiate gothic is so 1840s. If you aren’t into the modern chic backyard patio aesthetic, you’re way behind.”
And within two days, Library Lawn was born. Sources tell us that producers from HGTV have reached out to SAO with a potential deal for a new show. You’ve heard of “Beachfront Bargain Hunt,” but are you ready for the “Libraryside Living Guide?”