art by ivy babson
Welcome back to school, kids! Now’s the time to wander around campus to see what’s changed and what stayed the same.
Among the things that are the same: Waterman still has no air conditioning and the bottom of Aiken still kind of smells like mothballs, CCRH still looms over campus as a symbol of our Wellness Environment indentured servitude, and food in the Davis Center is still offensively expensive.
A few things have changed, though, like the addition of “Innovation [Major Donor Here]” Hall to the brand-spankin’ new “Discovery [Major Donor Here] Hall”. Some of these changes have been a pain; the sound of construction rings through all the quietest scenes of film classes and microbiology lab experiments. The most offensive change, however, has to be the fresh coat of green paint given to Lafayette over the summer.
Listen, I appreciate that the administration is trying to show that they care about humanities too (seriously, thanks for Cohen Hall!), but a fresh coat of paint on an old building doesn’t hide the fact that 40% of part-time lecturers in the College of Arts & Sciences were fired this year or that our course catalogs have hit an all-time low in terms of high-level and specialty courses, nor does it compare to two brand new buildings on campus as well as updates to the old ones.
But this isn’t about that. This is about that green paint. That ugly green paint. It’s like if someone took the kelly green from the 1980s Philadelphia Eagles and dipped it in tar, rolled it around in some mud, and then had a dog sneeze on it. I honestly don’t even know if I prefer it to the old chipped maroon and grey paint, and that grey used to make me feel like I was wandering through a prison instead of an educational institution. There is only room for one shade of green in my life, and that’s the green stairs behind Williams.
The green paint in question is everywhere- it’s on the walls, it’s on the columns, it’s on the doorways. I can only assume the next step is to paint the actual chairs said color of nasty. If they were going for a green-and-gold theme, I would like to refer them to the color of all of our school merchandise, a lovely shade of forest green that reflects the mountains of Vermont, not the inside of Kermit the frog’s asshole.
This paint has not made Lafayette feel like home to anyone. It has only put every student milling its halls on edge, attacking them. It feels like every student who has spent a long period of time in that building feels after a long day: is this what the outdoors looks like? Am I doing it right? The answer is no. It is not what the outdoors feels like. It’s at best a cheap imitation of the natural beauty surrounding us, and at worst an offense to the name “the Green Mountains.”
To my dear, sweet, Lafayette: we’ve had so many good times together, laughing, crying, talking, reading– at least twelve classes together, making you effectively my best class friend. I don’t know what they’ve done to you; I don’t even recognize you anymore. I’m so sorry, and I love you. But this shade of green is just not working on you.