SOU's new, automated mower resembles a small Roomba vacuum sitting on grass.

SOU students have fun with new auto-mowers

Warning: Due to profanity, reader discretion is advised.

Recently, SOU students noticed a new addition to life around campus. In the lawns between Shasta and McLaughlin residence halls, there has been what students have interpreted as a lawn “roomba.” The device has gained so much popularity that it even has its own Twitter account, @RoombaSOU

Zack Williams, the Landscape Supervisor in Facilities Management and Planning, oversees the operations of SOU’s landscape department, which includes the lawn roomba. Williams informed The Siskiyou that the device is called “Husqvarna automower 450XH”.

Automated lawn mower sits on grass.
Auto-mower found in Raider Village, device name:
Husqvarna automower 450XH. Photo taken from @SOURoomba account on twitter.

The retail price of the automower is $3,500. However, SOU did not purchased the automower. “It’s a demo from the manufacturer, and we are currently assessing feasibility,” said Williams. “It has to satisfy many different concerns, it has to at least be able to perform under a lot of different scenarios.”

If the auto-mower satisfies these conditions, Williams hopes to purchase a “heavier duty professional grade model that they’ve just released to the United States.” In fact, the landscaping department would like to deploy multiple auto-mowers throughout campus.

Meanwhile, an SOU student has created a Twitter account for the roomba. The student behind the account prefers to remain anonymous. “I think it’s funnier that way… you kind of have a little secret around campus,” they said.

The student running the account is leaving school soon, but does not plan to reveal their identity while here. “When I leave the school I have to give the account over to someone, unless the roomba thing doesn’t happen anymore…or they might add more and we’ll need more roomba accounts!” they said.

The student behind the account made the account based on demand and comedy. “I noticed there were several tweets about the SOU roomba and I always thought it would be funny if the roomba commented back on the tweets,” they said.

At the time of publication, the Twitter account had 99 followers and was made on April 21 with its first tweet amassing 59 favorites.

“I think the idea of that kind of meme, where it’s something everyone knows about is tweeting from itself but it’s not a human is really funny content, depending on how you portray yourself,” they said.

In reference to students naming the roomba, and the Twitter account, Williams said, “I think that’s great! I was delighted to hear about the Twitter account. What’s the name of it so I can find it?”

Jokes aside, SOU landscaping is hoping to automate more of the campus. “There’s a lot of exciting technology coming to market, and I’m excited to use it wherever possible to make the campus nice, more beautiful, a better habitat for wildlife and bees, and of course people,” said Williams.

Also, the automower has benefits. “The mower is completely automated…a very light amount of lawn clippings fall to the ground…it’s also much safer than a regular mower… it’s also totally silent,” noted Wiliams.

Within two weeks, Williams will decide if landscaping will move forward and get the newer and auto-motors. If landscaping makes this decision, the school will have the new auto-mowers in four weeks.

In the meantime, you can follow the roomba on Twitter @RoombaSOU, and observe the automower at work between Shasta and McLoughlin residence halls.

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