So it’s the fall of 1993, Zhane is pumping through the speakers and the Yard is as thick as molasses and, no, it’s not Homecoming. The Greeks are crowding the sidewalks strutting, strolling, and hopping like there’s no tomorrow. Diss struts are sent flying across the Yard in an urgent yet entertaining fashion. But at the end of the day, its all Pan Love and we can continue to get on with our lives. The Zeta’s and Sigma’s are chilling on the hill while the Kappa’s are shimmying their hearts out.
The Ques are barking and AKA’s are skee-weeing to the high heavens. The lunch line in the café are long but the fried chicken is on point, so students are willing to wait for the next batch. Students sitting in front of Bowen, Holland & Knott, and Jeanes having conversations that last into the wee hours of the morning. Basically just another day in the life of student at the G filled with harmless fun and jokes.
This is the Grambling State University I remember. The GSU that made me want to come to college so I could be like the students that I saw because they looked as if they were having so much fun.
Alas, those day have passed and are long gone. It has been replaced with parade of car, a fashion show, and a neverending sea of people who major in on-the-yard communications. And the students of today’s GSU do not seem to mind one bit.
Now before this article begins, it must be said that the thoughts and feelings expressed in it are completely and solely those of Jessieca Christine Gafford, who was not influenced or coerced into writing this article. Back to the subject at hand, the campus has received a much needed face lift and revamp but at what cost was it performed.
Old dorms have been replace by less stable structures that are undoubtedly nice but are largely impersonal. Something was lost when students were moved into these “super dorms” and ,in my opinion, it was the sense of community that could only exist in a traditional building.
There was a comraderie that seemed to be forged when you and your dormmates did not have water for a few days or when the circuit was overloaded by hair dryers and stereos and the lights for your end of the hall went out.
Some of the freshman (nor I) could not imagine what it would be like to live in old high rises like Pinchback and Wheatley where conditions were, from the horrible but hilarious stories we hear, less than bearable. It is those experiences that would make people who graduate from this institution who they are. It is where they learned about civil action, basically complain until something is done.
And even though it pains me, I must agree with Darryl D. Smith, we are a bit on the spoiled side.
But it is not only on the newly erected structure but “The Yard” has died. The vibrant student life that once existed has faded away as well. Organizations are not longer allowed to “rep” their group as hard as they would have before. Strolling, struting, or stepping from the way the students understand it has been outlawed by certain entities over the university.
People who are not Greek are making decisions that silence not only Greeks but non-Greeks, alike. Now I understand that a plot is just a piece of land that has benches and letters on it, but what they fail to realize is that they make “The Yard” what it is.
I cannot tell you how many afternoons I spent on “The Yard” with my mother and her sorority sisters and watched them stroll or just joke around with other sororities but this was during a time when everyone was not as sensitive as they arenow.
I’m not saying that we need the plots to further ourselves academically or anything but to have them back in their original spots would bring some of that flavor that used to exist back. Even during Homecoming, the most exciting part of the school year, is boring and makes you want to fall asleep.
Students no longer possess that same fervor of old alumni to “put on” for GSU as hard as they can. I always hear stories of how students used to decorate the exit off I-20 coming into Grambling with signs of the opposing teams impending doom and destruction. Now, you might not even see a poster for Homecoming.
But the madness does not stop there it extends itslef to having general fun if you’re an on campus student. Regulations on how long and where you can sit outside a dorm are being enforced. Even water balloon and water gun fights have been outlawed.
Simple fun to make the days of the semester go by a little faster has been largely ruled out. On some levels, I can understand the laundry list of rules because sometimes we get carried away and things get out of hand but come on.
At what point do the rules that keep us safe become border line fascist and keeps us with nothing to do but find trouble to get into (and they wonder why the pregnancy rate is going up).It pains me to say that when high school students come to visit the university they are met with a white wash version of Grambling that does not even compare to the old.
Maybe the students who are already here can at least make an attempt to inject some life back into the campus but until then Grambling, in my eyes, will only be a former shell of itself.