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Proper irrigation or student irritation?

By Sean Mulligan (Special to The Chronicle) As Hofstra students enter the depths of the fall semester they begin to face an ever-increasing downpour of schoolwork, stress and according to some students, water from the University’s sprinkler system. Hofstra students have begun to criticize the campus sprinkler system after witnessing flooded walkways, dry plant beds and soaked classmates.

In particular, commuters have found themselves to be a part of an impromptu obstacle course as they leave their cars for class each day.

“Sometimes you just don’t even notice. While you’re walking, as [the sprinklers are] turning it comes up on top of you. That’s when you notice,” said Dennis Graspas, a junior biology major.

According to Graspas, it is sometimes difficult to get to class due to the sprinkler system’s wrath veering into pathways that many students frequent.

“They could do a better job. They could find a better way to prevent [the sprinklers] from blocking the pavements,” said Graspas.

Other Hofstra students have stated that while they have been fortunate enough to avoid the splash zones, many of their classmates and friends have not had such luck.

“I have had classmates who have come into class absolutely soaked,” said Olivia Rutigliano, journalism major. “They were upset.”

Graspas recommended that the Grounds Department base their watering schedules on the school’s daily foot traffic.

“They could probably find out how many students take class at a certain time and have them on when there is not as much foot traffic based on that,” said Graspas.

However, the criticisms and suggestions of some students about the irrigation system hold little water, according to employees of Hofstra’s Physical Plant Department. Foreman V.J. Butler stated most sprinklers are already on a strict daily schedule and that some of the students’ recommendations are already in use.

“Normally they’re on for 30 to 45 minutes each night. Maintenance normally puts them on manually during the day if it’s needed for a specific area,” said Butler.

A maintenance employee said that the Physical Plant Department and Grounds Department are constantly looking after the University’s irrigation system. The employee who chose to remain anonymous added that workers are called to replace broken sprinkler caps, unclog hoses and shore up leaks in the irrigation system on a daily basis in addition to their routine tasks.

“They’re constantly working on them and they rarely ever get a break,” said Vinny Campagna, the plant department assistant foreman.

Dr. Robert Brinkmann, director of sustainability studies, applauded the Grounds Department’s daily efforts, supporting Campagna’s statements. Brinkmann has published a variety of works that focus on topics such as urban and suburban environmental sustainability, urban storm water pollution and climate change policy.

“To be honest, I think the grounds department does a pretty amazing job keeping our campus looking good and ensuring that the herbarium is up to national standards,” said Brinkmann

Brinkmann offered some advice to students who are getting soaked.

“Whenever I’ve seen any problem with watering or maintenance, I call over there and they take care of it,” said Brinkmann.

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