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Neath the Ashes: Revisiting the Veracity of Trinity’s Alma Matter in the Present Day
Alumni and present students of Trinity alike will recall fondly their jovial experiences of youth whenever the refrain of Trinity’s alma matter ‘Neath the Elms is heard at various college events: “No more shall we meet, our classmates to greet, / ‘Neath the elms of our old Trinity.” The tune, first set to words by Augustus P. Burgwin, Class of 1882, is still a centerpiece of tradition amongst Trinity students and stands as a bulwark against the changing landscape of Trinity in the 21st century.
Indeed, all may be surprised to know that the majority, save a few stragglers, of those familiar elms referenced in the tune were gone by the early 1970s. Before that matter can be addressed, however, the history of the trees which became eponymous with the song must first be examined.
First in 1880 and thereafter in 1883, the Trustees allocated funds and authorized the planting of several rows of English elm trees on the Quad. The location of these earliest rows can be ascertained by the location of the trees which currently stand parallel to Seabury and Jarvis and also the rows of trees that project outward from Northam Towers.
Written by: Chelsey Crabbe (History, Class of 2017)
I never thought that I could come to love a place as much as Cape Town, South Africa. Having arrived back home over a year ago, the memories I made in South Africa are still fresh in my mind. I spent the fall semester of 2015 participating in the Trinity-in-Cape Town program with eight other Trinity students. In terms of my academic experience, I attended the University of Cape Town, a school beautifully set into a mountain face, a setting that would greatly juxtapose the political turmoil boiling on campus. The #FeesMustFall campaign became the movement at school as the university’s students began protesting the rising student fees that barred a number of individuals from attending school. Their efforts are still at the heart of the greater goal of decolonizing the school system and continue today. Coming from Trinity, I had never seen mass student protests before especially with my own eyes. I became entranced by the students’ active political participation, a symbol of their deep value of education. As a history major, I realized that history was occurring before my very eyes, a strong reminder that Apartheid still remained a key component of the nation’s collective memory.