A gift from an anonymous donor to the Division of Student Affairs and the UNLV Foundation will fund the construction of a labyrinth on campus.
Labyrinths, with their winding single path leading to a central point, date back at least 5,000 years, and are meant to spur reflection, relieve stress, and provide a peaceful place for creativity. The campus labyrinth and garden are planned for near the residence halls on the southeast side of campus.
“Donations such as this one have a long-lasting impact on students and the campus community. It’s rewarding to share the labyrinth plans, knowing that they are a combination of student ideas and the donor’s vision,” said Heather Rappaport, director of development for the Division of Student Affairs.
The project is in the design phase. Three proposals feature different shapes and features, but they all include native plants, accessible pathways, and outdoor seating. The public is invited to review the plans and vote on the proposals. Voting closes Nov. 15. The project is slated for completion by fall 2023.
Students from the landscape architecture program in the College of Fine Arts, under the guidance of Danny Ortega, director of the School of Architecture, and Wayne Salom, vice president of JW Zunino Landscape Architecture, participated in a student design charrette to generate ideas for the labyrinth and garden. Salom’s team based the landscape plans on the students’ input and the donor’s vision.
"We are ecstatic to work with UNLV students on the design process of a unique labyrinth which will incorporate sustainable ideals and landscape fit for the environment,” Salom said. “Over the years, we have helped with several projects on campus like the Xeric Garden and Hospitality Hall, which incorporate low-water plants, trees, and sustainable materials. The labyrinth will be a wonderful addition to campus, a place for reflection and remembrance.”
The goal is to create an interactive landscape feature where students, staff, and guests can relax, gather, or study. Students who contributed to the design process like the idea of adding an adjacent, covered event patio with a gazebo, which could be a space for small gatherings or weddings.
"It's exciting for students to participate in a service-learning project that will create a new landscaping feature on campus. When they visit in the future, they will know their ideas sparked the project," Ortega said.
Families will be able to purchase commemorative plaques for the adjacent garden to honor their students’ achievements. Rather than a traditional paver stone, the most popular ideas for the donor wall were metal butterflies or bees, two species that are important to the Southern Nevada ecosystem.