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The Blue & Gray Press | September 26, 2017

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That’s what she said

BY JUSTIN TONEY

Last Friday, the senior class began counting down 100 days until graduation. It began with a Class Council-sponsored poker night, which I was told would serve alcohol but was disappointed to find did not.

Luckily, I came prepared. But as I sat at the Texas Hold’em table slowly tripling my chips, I had a nostalgic flashback to my freshman year when the people around me in their nice clothes and smiles would jam out with me in the Underground while the seniors then drank coffee and beer.

Probably only a few of you remember Lee Hall before it underwent renovation—when the Underground hosted near-nightly performances and sold alcohol. At the time, my classmates and I could only watch the purchases taking place and then slink back to our dormitories for some illegal Keystone, but there was something to look forward to about the Underground, which we have lost.
Stumbling home from the senior class poker night, I began to reflect upon all the changes the school has seen. I love this place, and will miss it when I’m gone. Somehow, though, I can’t help but think that the school I knew three years ago is already gone.

This year’s freshman class will never know a campus with a towering smokestack instead of a bell tower. They won’t know the experience of dancing, listening to live music, or watching live performances in the Lee Hall ballroom. They may never play softball on the Westmoreland lawn, or protest to have off on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

For every year I have attended UMW (or MWC for the few remaining hold-outs), there has been a different president in charge. Since 2005, my general graduation requirements, English major requirements and education requirements have all changed. Off the top of my head, I can recall three amendments to the University’s constitution.

As an alumnus, I’ll come back to see the Eagle Village when (and if) it’s ever finished. But that won’t be my school. My school had a Roses nearby. My peers knew to avoid the Twi-lite Motel and when Einstein’s threw out the day’s bagels. It already seems like I’m gone.
“Still,” I thought, walking down that familiar brick causeway past the buildings I’ve seen for close to three years now, “Still…” The people around me, my friends and peers, they are still with me. Though many professors have come and gone, I remember the good ones and still see the ones that have stayed.

Campus may have changed a lot in the last four years, but the people have stayed the same. A school is made of more than buildings. And so long as my peers and I share the memory of the place we used to know, it is still alive.

Viva la Underground!

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