BY SAMANTHA ELLIOTT, Editor in Chief
A new addition was brought to the University of Michigan-Dearborn campus on Thursday, October 20 in the form of a four foot tall, 8,500 pound rock. The rock was formally dedicated on Monday at noon.
One Michigan Coalition (OMC) thought a new rock would be “one of our ways to improve a sense of community and outdoor marketing for our campus’ outstanding student organizations,” student body President David Knezek said.
The process for the new rock took seven months from start to finish and was made possible by the collaboration of several departments on campus, including Kristen Grube from Facilities Planning, Vice Chancellor Stanley Henderson, and Bob Sejfulla from Facilities Management. Countless hours went into the planning, including taking into account the regulations set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Although it was a long road with many obstacles, OMC is happy with the outcome. “It was a great learning experience for me and I’m thankful to have had such a great team behind this project,” Knezek said.
Many students seemed shocked by the large crane on campus assisting with the installation of the new rock, and the question that seemed to hang in the air was, “Why a new rock?”
Knezek responded with, “For me the answer is simple: we need to provide students with an impressive and professionally maintained outlet upon which they could advertise their group, organization, or event … I am proud that this new feature to campus is both environmentally friendly and more grandiose.”
Unlike the old rock, which had no environmental protection, the new rock includes a base of river rock and an EPDM rubber liner, which prevents paint runoff from polluting the ground beneath.
“The last rock had some great history behind it, but it was in an area that would frequently flood and had no protection for the environment,” Knezek said.
Like the old rock, the new one will still need to be reserved should an organization on campus plan to paint it with an advertisement. The rock can be reserved by contacting Adam Walker, Sergeant at Arms of the Greek Leadership Council, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Negotiations are currently in the works for a more transparent reservation process to ensure that every organization knows who will be painting the rock when. Founder’s Day has been a controversy in the past with some Greek’s having a hard time painting the rock. Knezek hopes the new process will help with the difficulties faced in the past.
“Let me be clear, I want to maintain and respect the tradition of the Greek community having the right to paint the rock on their Founder’s Days. I am a huge proponent of the diverse and inclusive student life on our campus, so I want students to feel like this rock is for everyone, no matter what organization they represent. I’m confident that our future negotiations will bring about a solution that encourages all students to utilize this unique marketing feature on campus,” Knezek said.
The new rock came from the Plymouth Rock Shoppe in Plymouth, Michigan, the only vendor who provided a comprehensive plan for the installation of the new rock and removal of the old rock. The old rock will be taken back to Plymouth to be broken into smaller pieces, and will later be available to student, faculty, staff, and alumni who want to have a piece of campus history.