Hirt Center: The Arch of the Covenant

Ryan Kushner, Opinion editor

The arch at the bottom entrance of the Audrey Hirt Academic Center is ugly. There, I said it.

Not only is the bland slab of concrete rusting underneath and cracking the sidewalk it stands over, it creates an obstacle for anyone seeking safe passage into the lower level of Hirt.

It is a perplexing piece of architecture. It certainly does not speak to me artistically (although, I occasionally hear it mutter a snide comment as I pass by).

When I design buildings in my spare time (with Legos, Lincoln Logs, heavy drugs), I typically avoid placing two thick columns of concrete in front of the bustling entrance to my academic building.

Because of this design, students are forced to cautiously maneuver around the blockades and the exiting students bursting out of the building like TIE fighters in asteroid fields. Collisions have been known to occur. Hirt people hurt people.

Upon entering the asteroid field in the wee hours of the early morn, a part of me wants to gather some ropes and heave the arch down like a Saddam Hussein statue. I’ve developed several chants for such an occasion, but they are too explicit to be printed in this publication.

Another part of me, however, likes to make the best out of an ugly situation, like when it rains and I count it as a shower.

I think we should make the best out of this big Audrey Hirt arch. It can actually be quite beautiful if you look at it in a certain way (with your eyes closed).

Because Mercyhurst is looking to begin new campus traditions, there should absolutely be a new tradition applied to this big arch thing.

I don’t know if it’s all the crazy, viral “Hurst Day” energy that’s been floating around campus, or if it’s from locking lips with Luke the Laker, but I’ve been inspired (enlightened?) and would like to offer a few small ways to utilize the Hirt arch to ignite Mercyhurst Spirit, pride and tradition. Here they are:

1) Hurst Arch Sweat Lodge Day: On this joyful January day, we will gather around and throw a large tarp over the arch to create a tent. We will then build a large fire pit inside the tent to create the sweat lodge. Students and faculty will proceed to enter one at a time into the lodge and sweat until they experience a vision that will provide meaning to their lives. A steak dinner will be held after.

2) Hurst Arch Dance Marathon Day: Oh what a pleasure it is to dance and sing! On this charming spring afternoon, the entire Mercyhurst community will gather to shake their bodies in unity beneath the arch until they collapse. This will obviously take several days and classes will be canceled. T-Pain will be invited to perform as the featured artist.

3) Hurst Arch Punish the Guilty Day: Justice is mine, sayeth the Laker! On this day, we will place those who misbehave atop the arch as a form of public shaming. Bouncy castle and steak dinner to be featured.

4) Hurst Arch Apocalyptic Day: The end is near! On this day, students and faculty will congregate beneath the arch and there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

5) Hurst Arch Day: On this day, students will go to class as scheduled and faculty will go about their business. Nothing else to be provided.