Want Some More School Spirit? Get a Rock.

Miles Kopley, Contributing Writer

Playing high school hockey in Connecticut meant traveling all over the state for games, as ice arenas are about as abundant as one would think they are south of Canada. One stadium that always fascinated me was Taft Arena, at Taft School in Watertown, CT. Not only because it was built before the First World War and was probably going to be condemned at any minute, but also because their campus had a series of large boulders, which were repainted nearly every week as different sports teams would roll into town.

This is what St. John’s University needs, an object of school pride and competition, something that will get the student body physically involved in the spirit and passion of both inter-collegiate competition and university life. Allowing students of all walks of the university to decorate this boulder will serve to immerse all of those who see it in a crisscross of cultures and experiences.

Are you a member of the Debate Society and want free publicity? Paint a large mural of your choice on the rock. Is it fraternity rush season? Paint over that with your letters. Is Syracuse coming to town? Paint over that with our university logo. The rock will serve as an open forum, not to mention the foundation for a proud tradition that can carry on long after all of us have graduated.

This idea isn’t exactly crazy, either; Tufts University has “the Cannon,” which was installed on campus in 1956 and has served as a campus billboard since the Vietnam War. Carnegie Mellon has “the Fence,” which has been painted so many times that the original fence collapsed under its own weight in the early 90’s.

Plus, a boulder, unlike a fence, a cannon or any other material object, would be incredibly easy for St. John’s University to procure. Excavation companies dig up large boulders, sometimes more than twenty feet wide, all the time, which are then left to take up space at construction lots. The right company will even pay the University just to get a massive boulder off of its hands and free up some space.

This rock can be placed in the open space between Taffner and DaSilva Field, where a number of smaller rocks already preside. Whenever a team comes into town to play, or there’s an event at Taffner, students and visitors alike will see this free forum and remember it as an integral part of the St. John’s experience.

In the end, a boulder won’t just be an object of communication, but also one of pride and tradition. If this school would like to have some true student participation and immersion in university life, then it starts with an opportunity to get us physically involved and communicative campus-wide. A rock would be the perfect place to start.