Furman’s Campus Isn’t Looking So Great, and That’s Okay
We are acting as stewards, preserving and extending the livelihood of our campus for our posterity to enjoy.
Needless to say, Furman is not at its best right now.
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Furman’s campus is known for its beauty. With our iconic bell tower, miles of walking trails, multiple gardens, and idyllic lake, it is no wonder that our campus is consistently ranked as one of the most beautiful in America. As an avid walker, one of my favorite parts of last semester was walking around campus, admiring the campus and its beauty. These daily walks provided time to contemplate and talk to friends and family, all while admiring the world around me. I loved smelling the flowers in the Shi Center Garden, or talking to my grandmother from the Rose Garden, or beholding the Bell Tower during a particularly gorgeous sunset. These small delights made last semester more bearable.
Now, the trees have lost their rustling leaves; the roses have been cut, the gardens pruned. The grass has turned brown, and there is a chill in the air. In addition to these normal features of the changing seasons, Furman now bears the marks of a campus under construction. The grand trees that once adorned the Mall have now been uprooted and replaced. The plaza in front of the library is being rebuilt, surrounded by fences. The lake is now scattered with pink buoys and yellow barriers. The area on the other side of the lake now features a strange rubber, black, pillow-like object surrounded by red clay. The lake trail is littered with black tubes, trailers, tractors, and caution tape. Needless to say, Furman is not at its best right now.
Perhaps these are just petty complaints from someone who cares too much for aesthetics. However, looking around and seeing a campus under construction can be disheartening. It may not be the most dire of issues, but it is one that affects everyone on campus. For just like our campus, we too are in a waiting period of sorts. One day, Furman’s landscape will return to its former beauty, just as we will one day return to our normal lives. But not yet.
While we lament the loss of our trees and our favorite picture spots, all of this construction showcases Furman’s values. The trees that once graced the mall were rotting and were nearing the end of their 50-60 year lifespan. The new trees that have been planted are safer, as they are young and strong, and they will produce cleaner air. They will grow and beautify Furman’s campus for centuries to come. By replacing the older trees, Furman University is committing itself both to a cleaner environment and to the beauty that will someday grace Furman students in the future. We are acting as stewards, preserving and extending the livelihood of our campus for our posterity to enjoy.
As for the remodeling of the library plaza, Furman is planning to dedicate it to its first African American student, Joseph Vaughn, who graduated in 1968. This commitment to diversity, especially during Black History month, is a necessary step in honoring the Black men and women who made Furman what it is today. The coming statue and plaza, as well as the renaming of Lakeside to Clark Murphy, reflect the goals of Furman’s Strategic Diversity Plan, to foster equality on campus.
Though the construction this semester can be an eyesore at times, it is just a momentary aesthetic inconvenience that will eventually benefit Furman’s campus as a whole. These new developments reflect Furman’s commitment to both diversity and the environment. This campus has come so far since ground was broken on it in the 1950s — just look at the pictures on the walls at the Bread and Bowl. Let us continue solidifying our future as we honor those in our past.