Sanford Mall provides a community space for sunny days


Aron Herba

Curt Bridgers, a sophomore computer science major, scales across a popular slacklining spot on Sanford Mall.

Camryn Collier and Elaina Woodlief

One of the biggest green spaces at App State is a hub of action. Hundreds of students, faculty and visitors pass by Sanford Mall, located in the center of campus, everyday, which serves as an open space for relaxation on warm, sunny days.

As summer comes to an end and winter looms, students take in their last warm days with various outdoor activities on the mall.

Sophomore biology major Connor Dalton started slacklining, which is when someone walks on a suspended rope, over the summer when he visited Yosemite National Park.

“There’s this zone where you’re just walking on the slackline, and it’s the most amazing feeling,” Dalton said. 

The slackline brings a lot of new and familiar faces to the corner of Sanford Mall near Anne Belk Hall, where some of the bigger trees are perfect for setting up the webbing for a long line, Dalton said. 

“I had seen people out here doing it, so when I came back after the summer was over, I knew to set it up here. The most amazing part is just that people congregate around here,” Dalton said. “You can really start to make a lot of friendships.” 

 And, while slacklining is popular on some parts of Sanford, other places are good for just laying around. Freshman building sciences major Erin Craven set up her new hammock between two trees in front of the Plemmons Student Union on a Sunday afternoon.

The hammock was harder to set up then she thought, Craven said, and three people offered to help Craven during her first time setting it up.

For the rest of the afternoon, Craven said she worked on homework in her hammock and enjoyed the outdoors and sunshine.

A few feet away, senior fermentation sciences major Allie Caraway and her rescue Australian shepherd, Mack, sat on the grass while she did homework. 

“I usually try to bring him out here just to hang out with me,” Carney said. 

Mack wagged his tail at every dog that passed by, including another Australian shepard in the distance that Caraway said was Mack’s “new best friend.”

Sophomore nutrition and foods major Max Heich and his partner, freshman biology major Jen Belk, practiced acro-yoga, a mix of acrobatics and yoga that usually incorporates partners, in a “spur of the moment” decision on Sanford.

The two were practicing a move in which Heich balanced Belk on his feet with her arms and legs spread in a star shape. 

“I call that move we just did ‘The Superman,’” Belk said.

When the day winds down, the couple likes to come watch the clouds and the sunset, Heich said. 

Soon, Sanford Mall will not only be filled with people and pups, but also the bright reds, yellows and oranges of the coming fall as the sunny days come to an end.