Michigan State University's Independent Voice Since 1909, East Lansing, MI

State News Logo

Friday, April 18, 2014 | Last updated: 9:30am


  • Facebook Logo
  • Twitter Logo
  • RSS Feed Logo
  • Email Signup Logo



Students commemorate building with graffiti




yjw_fea_poem_041212

English professor Jyotsna Singh writes a poem on a Morrill Hall wall Thursday afternoon for A Literary Graffitti Project.



Looking up at the words she had written across a wall in Morrill Hall, Melissa Downing could not help but feel nostalgic.

Morrill Hall is scheduled to be torn down in March 2013, and the English Department hosted A Literary Graffiti Project on Thursday to celebrate National Poetry Month and the department’s place in Morrill Hall.

“With us being seniors … we (have) come here for everything,” said Downing, an English senior. “It’s definitely sad that they’re tearing down such an old piece of campus.”

The project allows students to write their favorite literary quotes on the walls of certain rooms on the second floor of Morrill Hall, where the English department is located for the remainder of the month, English professor Natalie Phillips said. The project will continue through the end of the school year.

Students packed into the small, old rooms of the historic building Thursday to write quotes from famous authors and even Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series.

Students and faculty alike enjoyed having the opportunity to write on the building’s walls.

“It just seemed kind of fun and out of the ordinary,” English junior Alex Frankfort said.

Several of the faculty members said they loved being able to do such a “quirky” project.

Phrases such as “redrum” a reference to the scene in the thriller “The Shining” when a character smears the phrase on a door with red lipstick, were scrawled on the walls.

Phillips was both disappointed and understanding of this type of graffiti, which she said might be viewed as inappropriate.

“If authors were constrained … we wouldn’t have literature,” she said.

She later added with a laugh that she intended to write some particularly elegant passages around the reference.

Phillips used the opening of Thursday’s project, accompanied by snacks and music, to commemorate Morrill Hall as well as her friend and fellow English professor Lister Matheson, who died in January.

She had written a quote by Chaucer on the wall in memory of Matheson, who loved the author, Phillips said.

English professor Kristen Renzi, who initially began discussion on this project, said this was an opportunity to celebrate the things that inspire both faculty and students.

“(It’s in) commemoration of Morrill and celebrates the things that bring us together,” Renzi said. “Words bring us together.”

Morrill Hall’s demolition could not be ignored, despite the cheerful event.

“I’m sad, but the building is definitely getting old,” Frankfort said. “I’m sure it’s the right call when it comes down to it.”


Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The State News.