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Sweet 16 for ONU’s Legendary Green Monster

"Remington Walk" Brings the Spirit of the West to ONU's Green Monster

Over the years, the Green Monster, Ohio Northern University's beloved jogging path, has felt many footsteps upon its emerald tread, and this fall's addition of 12 western-themed statues will add horses' hooves to the list.

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Green Monster

In the early morning hours at Ohio Northern University, when only a glimmer of sunrise peeks above the horizon, the Green Monster is already hard at work. The familiar trail quietly weaves through campus, never acknowledging the fact that it's much more than a jogging path. The Green Monster is a campus legend.

ONU President and avid runner, Dr. Kendall L. Baker, considers the Monster a "good recreational device for students interested in exercise of any variety." He most appreciates, however, its ability to bring together people from different constituencies.

The president's residence, better known as the Dicke House, is situated along the Monster. From his vantage point, Baker sees a steady stream of students, parents, children, townspeople and senior citizens, all "interacting and enjoying each other's company."

Committed to bringing people together, the Green Monster has never missed a day of work. Neither have the dedicated patrons who keep the Monster busy all day, every day. Tony Wolke, assistant director of the physical plant, and long-time Green Monster caretaker, has seen every possible use of the trail, including a winter activity he described as "ski-walking."

"The fact that the Green Monster is always busy is a testament to how much the village of Ada, as well as the campus, loves it," remarked Wolke.

After 16 years of constant use, the Monster is no longer "green" - inexperienced that is. With a few more "wrinkles" in its asphalt and new additions like drinking fountains and benches, the Green Monster has made an aesthetic transformation since its 1991 debut. This fall the Monster will add high art to its list of unique features with the addition of 12 western sculptures.

Special elements aside, the campus loves the Green Monster for its mystique, part of which is wrapped up in its unique name. Initially given the lackluster title "jogging path," Wolke explained that the nickname originated when tired physical education students dubbed the 2.5 mile path "a Monster of a walk." As for the unusual green color, Wolke said that then-president Dr. DeBow Freed thought green looked much better than plain blacktop.

Thus, the "Green Monster" was born.

Whether it is setting the stage for a 5K run for charity, playing host to neighborhood pets, or populated by friends enjoying a sunset walk, the Green Monster is more than a jogging path to anyone who sets foot upon it. Sixteen years of footprints and memories have come to rest upon the Green Monster's tread, and the future promises miles of continued enjoyment.

Written by Autumn Steiner
Junior, professional writing
Bluffton, Ohio