Spray chalk detracts from look of campus

Credit: Frances Soong/Art Staff Credit: Frances Soong/Art Staff

Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen a multitude of displays advertising extracurricular groups all over campus as they gear up for recruitment. Information sessions are noted on the sidewalk from Forbes Avenue past the Purnell Center for the Arts, promises of free pizza — and information about us! — dance across the ground outside of Kirr Commons, and reasons to go Greek are scattered around the Fence.

This type of group effort and extracurricular spirit is great, and a nice change from the normally pervasive apathy in which our campus is shrouded for the colder months of the year. But the way in which some of this information is being conveyed — through spray chalk — is questionable at best.

Messages to “join a sorority” and “go Greek” were spray-chalked on sidewalk surfaces from outside Resnik Hall and West Wing, past the University Center, and going toward Doherty, Baker, and Porter Halls, accompanied by spray-chalked stencils of the “go Greek” logo.

These messages elicited normally chalked replies to sororities about their use of spray chalk. While its use is currently not explicitly prohibited, Student Senate has just approved a resolution against the spray chalk on campus.

While chalking — or really any type of advertising for recruitment for a Greek organization, buggy team, or cross-cultural alliance — is fun and important for a group’s continued membership, organizations should remember that spray chalking is semi-permanent. Advertising for an information session scheduled to happen in two days when spray chalk can last up to two weeks renders the information useless and ties up the space for any future advertising.

Moreover, with both Bill Gates’ visit and the G20 happening on or near campus this week, leftover spray chalk smudged across prominent sidewalk areas and the sides of buildings could look sloppy and distracting.

Maybe we need a more efficient way of recruiting for student organizations and advertising for that recruitment on campus. Or, better, we need to use the resources that are already available. Chalk for short-term events — where the rain can wash away the message — but hang a sign over the entrance to Doherty or poster the bulletin boards in the University Center for more permanent notices.