Labyrinth Trail offers a slice of serenity amid bustle of campus

by Patricia Marroquin, Graduate Division Communications Director
Friday, February 03, 2012 10:57 AM

Labyrinth Trail is made of decomposed granite and river rocks. Credit: Patricia MarroquinThanks to a generous donor, you don’t have to go far to find serenity on campus. Carol Geer, who retired from UCSB in 2000 after a 21-year career as director of Counseling and Career Services, and executive director of Student Development Services, had a vision for a tranquil area that students, staff and faculty could retreat to for some quiet time.

“The campus is an exciting place of learning and living, but even positive stimuli can be stressful,” Geer told the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications in 2011. “The goal was to provide a place and a process for finding the serenity and balance that comes from the interaction of mind, body, and spirit with nature."

Through Geer’s persistence and generosity, as well as the campus sponsorship of Student Affairs, Labyrinth Trail on UCSB’s Lagoon Island became a reality and was dedicated in May 2011.

Students walk the Labyrinth at lunchtime. Credit: Patricia MarroquinThe trail, made of decomposed granite and river rocks and accessed via a path southeast of Manzanita Village, took two months to build. But the project endured five years of obstacles, including obtaining the necessary Coastal Commission approval.

Why a labyrinth? "Intuitively, it just came to me that a labyrinth would provide a pattern and a process for respite and renewal that would be beneficial to its users," Geer said in the press release. "The labyrinth is a universal cultural symbol used since ancient times for contemplation and meditation. It is often viewed as a metaphor for life's journey."

Grad students, if you find yourselves in need of a side trip off the stressful superhighway of life, take the Lagoon Island exit and visit Labyrinth Trail. There you will find a place to recharge, refuel, and renew.