It’s unclear if anyone will be able to jump in Mirror Lake this November, and Ohio State students are reacting in various ways — from excitement about renovations, to disappointment that the lake might be drained.
The decades-old tradition of jumping in Mirror Lake the week before the OSU-Michigan football game could be threatened by various, unconfirmed plans to change the water source to the lake and re-landscape the surrounding area.
It all began after lake was drained after last year’s jump to allow for work on a roughly $28,000 sustainability study aiming to prevent water loss due to leaks in the lake’s structure. The study was also set to address maintenance issues related to deterioration of the lake’s walls. The study, which concluded in July, ultimately determined that groundwater is a viable option for sustaining the lake.
Mirror Lake was since refilled in early August with water from a recently-dug well that cost an additional $30,000. A final design for Mirror Lake is set to be chosen in early November.
Administration and Planning spokeswoman Alison Hinkle said Aug. 18 there weren’t any additional updates on the Mirror Lake renovations.
Andrew Perkins, a second-year in pre-exercise science, said the administration should take students’ wishes and tradition into consideration. He also said he had concerns on how long renovations might take.
“I’d rather them wait till after the jump and then start (Mirror Lake renovations) quick after that, ready for next year. Just because it’s our thing to do the jump,” he said. “If we don’t have the jump just because they don’t have it (filled) … that just kinda sucks.”
Another OSU student said he doesn’t think the administration will take the jump into consideration when making Mirror Lake decisions.
“I don’t think they really care,” said Gray Moody, a second-year in human nutrition. “They’re gonna do what they want regardless of what the students (think).”
But Moody, who jumped his freshman year, said he wouldn’t care if he couldn’t jump again since he already has.
Other students, like Tyler Martini, a second-year in marketing who has participated in the jump, said he sees benefits to renovating Mirror Lake.
“If it’s better for Mirror Lake to where they’re doing renovations and stuff, I guess we might have to survive, as much as we might not want to,” he said. “I heard different things about them filling it up, just filling it in and just doing away with it, and it made me really sad just because it’s a really cool part of the university. So I think it’s cool that they’re putting money in it to make it better.”
“I just think it’s a really big part of OSU, and I’m glad to be here to take part in it. I hope that (the jump) continues.”
Sean Gorby, a first-year doctorate student in counselor education, agreed that the renovations are beneficial.
“It would be kind of retroactive for us as a community to maybe kinda take steps backwards saying, ‘Hey let’s keep the lake the same just so we can keep this tradition,’ maybe when it would be better to be proactive and make renovations to the lake,” Gorby said.
Emily McDonnell, a first-year law student who has never been to the jump, said she recognizes its importance to other students given her own history with school traditions.
“I did my undergrad at the University of South Carolina, so we didn’t like Clemson (University) and we always had blood drives and stuff,” she said. “It would’ve been cool to have something that we did all together to really represent our dislike for our rival.”
McDonnell said taking away the event might be more disappointing for upperclassmen who might only have one more time to experience the jump.
However, Krysti Dubler, a fourth-year in community leadership, said even though she’s a senior and would like to participate, she understands the need for renovations.
“I know that there are a lot of issues and concerns about student safety and everything, which should be a main priority, but I hope that we can still (jump),” Dubler said.
If students aren’t able to jump, Dubler suggested taking a plunge into the Olentangy River as an alternative.
Rob Hildreth, a third-year in Spanish, said it would not go over well with students if the Mirror Lake jump was taken away.
“It’s a tradition that’s loved here and a tradition that everyone looks forward to,” Hildreth said. “It’s part of preparing for the (OSU-Michigan) game.”
Some students said regardless of what happens, Buckeyes will find a way to jump.
“It’s not very deep, I’d jump in anyway,” said Tyler Hauck, a second-year in city and regional planning.
McDonnell said she’d like to see a rally in Ohio Stadium take the jump’s place if the jump can’t be held.
“Just something else that would give students the opportunity to participate in something as big of a tradition as jumping in Mirror Lake,” McDonnell said.