Monday, May 21, 2018

Veni, Vidi, Graffiti: A new tradition




Walk the 100 acres that comprise Trinity College and you will see hundreds of names chiseled in stone, carved in wood and etched into glass directly on and around the buildings where we learn, we socialize, we eat, we sleep and we pray.

We honor these people by displaying their names for generations to see and to be inspired. They helped shape Trinity and we are all their heirs. And yet, there’s another story implicit in these names that we rarely consider that’s every bit as important—the story of how Trinity shaped them.

What do you suppose these people would say to that question?

It’s time we ask everyone and time for a new tradition. If self-awareness and self-realization are the hallmarks of the liberal arts education, then it’s time we embrace a new tradition of students expressing their individual hopes, values and aspirations directly on the single most iconic, most shared piece of the campus: the Long Walk.

This is VoxPop. VoxPop is the right of all Trinity students to inscribe the words of their choosing in chalk on the Long Walk. It happens twice in your Trinity years—once upon matriculation and once upon graduation.

Whereas our peers at other institutions are given clay pipes or walking sticks at commencement, we at Trinity are given a simple piece of chalk. But we are also given a glorious canvas.

So as we take chalk in hand this year to initiate VoxPop in this new rite of passage, let us contemplate our time at Trinity and, if only for a moment, inscribe the thoughts we value most in our boldest, most unforgettable, most resonant words for all to see.

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