Starting at the beginning of the semester, small plastic dinosaur figurines have been popping up all around campus, leading staff and students to question who is responsible for the phenomenon and why they are doing it.
A few of the locations in which the dinosaurs can be found are on top of the Oxford, England sign by St. John’s Pond, on a lamp outside the library, on the ledge above the stairs outside the campus center and in the knot of a tree by St. John’s Pond. These are only the more obviously placed ones, however. Dinosaur sightings have also been reported by Calvert Hall, Goodpaster Hall and Anne Arundel Hall.
The Point News (TPN) got in contact with the responsible party, who elected to remain anonymous. They explained their reasoning for putting up the plastic figurines. “We thought the campus needed a bit more happiness,” one of them said. They said they had also been inspired by previous instances of people stealing bricks from campus pathways, and thought the dinosaurs would be a mischievous way of adding to the campus rather than taking things away. One of the party also recounted an experience in which they visited another college and saw animal figurines around campus, and the idea stuck with them. Apparently there is not a specific significance to the use of dinosaurs as opposed to other animals. “Mostly I just really like dinosaurs,” one of them said.
As for how they choose their locations, the responsible party said they wanted to put the dinosaurs in places in places that were obvious and visible, but placed in such a way that people would wonder how they got there, such as in fountains or on high-up ledges. They try to pick times where people are not out on campus to put up the dinosaurs in order to preserve the secrecy of their identities. “The magic of them is that they just kind of appear,” one said.
As opposed to appearing, however, some of the dinosaurs have been disappearing. The responsible party shared their theories as to who has been taking them down. Apparently, they have heard of students taking the dinosaurs down and keeping them for themselves, which they disagree with. Although they do not think this comes from ill intent, they ask that people leave the dinosaurs up because “they are for everyone.” They do not believe administration was responsible for taking the figurines down.
Steven Gregory, superintendent of groundskeeping, shared his thoughts about the prehistoric phenomenon. Gregory, whose department takes care of all outside maintenance, would be the most affected by the dinosaurs. Gregory did not know about the dinosaurs prior to being informed by TPN. He said that his staff would have informed him if the dinosaurs were hindering maintenance work. Because of this, Gregory says he does not mind the presence of the dinosaurs as long as they get taken down at the end of the semester and do not cause any lasting damage. “That’s really my only concern,” he said. “As long as they undo it.”
The dinosaurs may be here to stay then, at least until the end of the semester. The responsible party expressed that they try to place them in such a way that they will not impede any maintenance work, a movement which seems to be succeeding so far. “We don’t want the dinosaurs to have any sort of malicious connotations,” one said. “The purpose of the dinosaurs are to make people feel good.”
They plan to continue putting the dinosaurs up even if they get taken down. While unwilling to give up any future locations for dinosaurs, they decided to share that there is a dinosaur in nearly every area of campus. They also want students to know that the dinosaurs have names: the figurine on the Oxford, England sign, for example, is Mr. Toad.
What happens next with the dinosaur figurines remains to be seen, but they have certainly brought a unique bit of fun to the campus for students to smile at on their way to class.