|Primary inflows||Municipal water supply|
|Primary outflows||Sewer to Olentangy River|
|Basin countries||United States|
|Water volume||91,000 cubic feet (2,600 m3) |
|Surface elevation||738 ft (225 m)|
Mirror Lake is a small lake (pond) on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, United States. Historically, the lake was spring-fed, and sat on the property of William Neil in North Columbus (then a city of its own, which would later be annexed by Columbus). The trustees in charge of purchasing land for the new Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College (which would later become the Ohio State University) chose to purchase Mr. Neil's land after drinking from the spring. A German trustee reportedly stated "It's hard to get a Dutchman away from a spring like that." The spring dried up in 1891 when the city of Columbus struck the source of the spring while installing a trunk sewer line through campus. The water source was subsequently provided by the city of Columbus municipal water supply, at a new location on campus near the location of the original lake. Visitors, students, faculty, and staff enjoy the fountains that run in spring, summer, and autumn.
Light Up The Lake is an event hosted by The Ohio Staters Inc., a student organization at The Ohio State University, to kick off the holiday season. Students hang white seasonal lights throughout the Mirror Lake and Browning Amphitheatre area. A lighting ceremony takes place when the lights are turned on for the first time of the season, usually the week following Thanksgiving.
It is a tradition for students to jump into the lake around midnight on the Tuesday night prior to the annual football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Michigan Wolverines. Even though students have jumped into Mirror Lake according to tradition since 1969, the modern tradition started in 1990 when Jim Jones led a parade of students on a traditional march around campus. At the end of the parade — at Mirror Lake — students made the celebratory jump. While the jumps of the past few years have drawn crowds of several thousand, less than 100 people leaped into the lake in 1990, led by someone named "Marmaduke" and a few other AEPi fraternity members wanting to add to the historic rivalry. Approximately 12,000 people either jumped or were near the lake for the 2009 jump. However, with a change in the Big Ten scheduling to add a bye week to the season coming in 2010 puts the game on the Saturday during Thanksgiving weekend, threatening the tradition as the Thursday night prior to the game would be Thanksgiving. Students have suggested moving the jump to the Tuesday prior to the game to allow the jump to continue. As of November 23, 2010, the jump was on a Tuesday night for the first time and a dedicated following of six thousand fans before midnight (the jump takes place for most students between the hours of 10pm and 2am).
The Mirror Lake Jump event is not a university sponsored event, and people are encouraged not to participate by The Ohio State University. Although the event has been associated with a variety of emergency room visits, and loss or destruction of property, folklore exists that calls it the "Lucky Mirror Lake Jump" event. There are OSU graduates who have jumped into Mirror Lake according to tradition who have become very wealthy and have had wonderful lives. Of course, at least one person has been paralyzed from an injury associated with Mirror Lake, and another person has died, although neither was directly related to the Mirror Lake Jump event. The 2010 Mirror Lake Jump was associated with approximately 25 trips to the emergency room for cuts, sprains, and other injuries. The 2004 Mirror Lake Jump was associated with at least three injuries. A study was conducted during one of the Mirror Lake Jumps where water samples were taken from the lake throughout the night. It was note worthy that the ammonia levels in the lake greatly increased throughout the night. This has been attributed to people urinating in the lake. There has also been concern that the lake may be a potential source for disease infection, salmonella is a concern. The Ohio State University usually spends approximately $20,000.00 cleaning up the landscape and property surrounding Mirror Lake after the jump event. Jumping into Mirror Lake is also a fourth-degree misdemeanor, however police acknowledge that they ignore this during jump events in order to focus on the safety of those present.
2013 has seen a change in the attitude of the University toward this tradition. The Ohio State University required wristbands to participate in the 2013 jump which was scheduled for November 26. The area was fenced off, and only those with the wristbands were allowed to enter the area; the area spanned from Neil avenue to past Browning amphitheater. The wrist bands were available at the Union to enrolled Ohio State students.
In defiance of these regulations, another jump took place on Monday, November 25, 2013, the night before the regularly scheduled Michigan game jump. Through the use of social media, many students organized a last minute unofficial jump as a response to school officials. Students upset at the new regulations tore down the fences and jumped in the lake a night earlier than planned.
A notable non-Michigan game jump occurred on the night of May 1, 2011, when students jumped into the lake in the wake of the death of Osama bin Laden, announced on television at approximately 11:30 pm.
The Lake as seen from Thompson Library
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