A loss of lore, lineage and legacy

In the year of 2016 we saw a different Guilford. What was once a community bustling with the tunes of different cultures has dwindled into a more or less consolidated blob.

Students could enter a campus where there seemed to be a whole lineage and legacy to enter and immerse within. Students were dropped into a place of legend, a whole private woodland dotted with relics that radiated the marks and experiences of generations past.

Making the moonlit trek to those woods, students had intentions of settling on the beloved fishing bridge, a serene abode over a creek surrounded with the whispering rustle of hanging green. You could follow the gravel fork in the road to the graffiti wall, the teepee nestled so far back in the weave of skinny pole-like trees, and those mysterious mesh hammocks, or the sanctified gnome-home.

Perhaps you left with the intention of climbing those towering birches, or to see the once present albino deer. Evidently the fishing bridge has since crumbled and broken, and somehow with it the legends that made Guilford the mystical place it once was.

The woods culture has declined at Guilford College, and those hallowed grounds of college escapades and peaceful meditation have fallen into the background. And along with the woods culture, we’ve seen a decline in the party culture.

It may seem to be a trivial, juvenile or even simply petty notion for a college student to mourn the party culture of an earlier time. But with the changes dealt to housing there does seem a striking depression in active community of the student body. Milner and Binford, Mary Hobbs, Shore, the News, the Olds and the recent addition of Hodgens or the Easts is what we have now.

But you might remember the days when we had the theme houses.

The Pines was a hub for the arts, holding their own open-mic nights and live music. Cobb was that alluring venue hidden by the woods where you could dance away stress and cool off with active conversation with your peers. Pope was that building on the edge of campus where students trekked to squeeze into a hot, sweaty and packed building too small for the level of occupancy to the point where we spilled out the doors onto the lawn.

Not to mention the ever-mythic Rustic, a house off-campus that was beholden to the greatest gatherings Guilford students have ever seen. Ending with a forced exit by law enforcement that resulted in the roves of hundreds of students walking the streets like a euphoric and blissed out parade back to campus.

The morning after such fun-filled escapades was always a calm and cool morning to catch your breath. Many found refuge on their porches at the Olds or strolled over to the Greenleaf coffee co-op, a hub for those who were looking for a chill and safe space to make idle chat with the regular baristas, their fellow students. There was lineage in them too.

As a first-year, Guilford seemed to be a place full of life with any pick of lineages to tap into; I could live at the Pines, I could live at Cobb, I could live at Pope, I could be part of that legacy. But in the years since, such hopes have been snuffed away from future generations. For exiting seniors, there seems to be a definitive sense of mourning for what their first-year selves might have dreamed of.


Editor’s note: This story originally was published in Volume 106, Issue 6 of The Guilfordian on Nov. 15 2019.