On Sunday, Nov. 15, about 20 St. Mary’s students gathered at the Campus Center for the “Keep St. Mary’s Beautiful Walk.” The event, organized by juniors Danny Ruthenberg-Marshall and Tess Wier, was meant to voice the discontent with recent acts of vandalism on campus. Students walked around campus, posting signs at the sites of the vandalism and carrying a banner that read “Keep St. Mary’s Beautiful.” The walk ended at the community garden, where participants cleaned up the mess created a few weeks before.
“Tess and I organized this march/action because everyone’s been getting really fed up with the vandalism and we, along with everyone I’ve talked to, want it to stop. This was just one way to get the message out there, and then to actually do something about it with helping clean up the community garden,” said Ruthenberg-Marshall. “Hopefully the vandals will stop messing with things, or get themselves into an environment they feel more comfortable in, so they don’t want to destroy things.”
The walk and clean-up lasted for about an hour and were deemed a success by participants. Although it was originally supposed to be an “Anti-Vandalism March,” “We changed the name to the ‘Keep St. Mary’s Beautiful Walk’ when we got word that people were confusing this for some kind of protest. I don’t know who we would be protesting, but this was just to take some action and show that we love our school,” said Ruthenberg-Marshall. In keeping with that theme, those walking invited others to participate and offered those they met along the path free cookies and bagels.
The walk was supported by at least one member of the administration. Laura Bayless, Dean of Students, wrote on the event’s Facebook wall. Though she said she had a prior obligation, she wrote, “I will be with you in spirit.”
About a third of the buildings on campus were tagged with spray paint this semester. Maintenance removed the worst of the damage, but some of the vandalism remains, and there are faint outlines on a few of the tagged buildings.