The Weigh In – Walking on the Hawk

weigh inFor the hawk – Dani Saad

A few years back, the hawk on the floor of the FNCC was tiled over. Then, it was put back on the floor and the tradition of not stepping on the hawk lives on. It was inconvenient and costly to have it replaced, but allowed the tradition to be enjoyed by students for the indefinite future.

Stepping around a logo is not a unique tradition to Laurier; it exists in sports locker rooms in most major sports and is very similar to not stepping on a flag.

Why put something on the floor if you don’t want it stepped on? Because it creates the possibility of a tradition which recognizes the importance of the logo in question.

In this case, not stepping on the hawk represents student respect for the university and its legacy and those who attend it.

Students should have been consulted before the hawk was removed and the situation could have been avoided all together. There was student support for the replacement of the hawk on the floor, and since it was student funds that covered the cost, there should be no complaints made towards the students’ union. It cannot be blamed for spending student dollars how students demanded they be spent.

Yes, it was a small group (relative to the student body) that wanted the hawk replaced, but the money spent was a fraction of student fees. Thus, the money spent made sense based on the support for spending it.

The university and WLUSU have spent money erroneously and needlessly in the past and almost surely will in the future. We should be less concerned with stepping on the hawk to defy tradition and more concerned with identifying overinflated budgets and poorly conceived spending projects.

We can all agree that the hawk tradition is far less harmful than the tradition of financial mismanagement.

Tradition brings people together and contributes to communal identities, which we all hope to subscribe to. It is often difficult to discern exactly how identities are formed but at Laurier it comes in many forms – supporting sports teams, wearing school colours, eating at Wilfs, joining a club or performing in a musical theatre production.

Some refuse to participate in such things and view school spirit as a waste of time or something they have no part in. However, the beauty of the hawk is that it takes no talent, skill or real effort to take part. It is a tradition of accessibility, a tradition of the people, if you will.

Those that respect the tradition and walk around the hawk are embracing the tradition and those that oppose the hawk logo by stepping  on it are embracing their own tradition.

Those who step on the hawk in defiance form a community of their own and also contribute to the Laurier identity.

There is no need to harass people who do step on the hawk or ridicule someone for walking around it. We all can contribute to the tradition in our own way.

No matter whether you step on the hawk or not, it brings people together, which makes the tradition successful and all the more valuable.

Against the hawk – Cate Racher

The Laurier campus has many attractions; there’s the statue of Wilfrid Laurier seated on a bench, the athletic centre, and the beloved Golden Hawk in the Fred Nichols Campus Centre.

The  catch is that the hawk is in the ground, and you aren’t allowed to step on it for fear of the consequences (one of the first things I heard on the Laurier campus was a rumour that said that if you step on it, students will stop and make you bend down to kiss it before you are allowed to go on your way).

A while ago, the original hawk was taken out of the flooring and tiled over, but the students of Laurier got themselves in a tizzy, which led to the Students’ Union board of directors deciding to replace it at a ridiculous cost of $10,700 in the 2007-08 year. For flooring that you aren’t allowed to step on.

Schools have a lot of traditions that students follow. People wear school colours at sporting events, there are spirit days, and what does Laurier have to add to the mix? We don’t step on the floor. It’s a completely ridiculous notion to think that we aren’t able to step on a bit of flooring, and due to its size, it’s almost impossible to avoid without bumping into other people, the walls, or creating traffic when it’s busy in the campus centre.

And then there’s the cost.  As I mentioned before, the Students’ Union board of directors decided to spend $10,700 to replace the hawk; it was a ridiculous price to pay for something that we wouldn’t be able to walk on without incurring the wrath of some students.

That money could have been spent in much more practical ways, such as making different places on campus more wheel-chair accessible, putting more money towards student groups such as the Rainbow Centre  or the Ecohawks, or making Laurier more environmentally friendly by c implementing a more vigorous recycling and compost program on campus. No matter the route we could have taken, it doesn’t matter now, because that money has been wasted on a large chunk of un-traversable walking space.

I avoided walking on the hawk, until I brought one of my friends in for a visit to campus. When he took a step onto the hawk, and everyone around us stopped dead in their tracks, it proved to me how ridiculous the whole thing was.

Since then, I make a point of stepping on the hawk whenever I need to go to the campus centre because it’s really one of the stupidest “rules” I have ever heard. It makes no sense. You know, telling people not to walk on the floor in the busiest building on campus is like telling people not to walk on the Great Wall of China because it cost a lot of money to build. It’s ridiculous. And the fact that they replaced it at a crazily high cost so soon after tiling it over shows that Laurier has way too much money to spend and they are not spending it in the right places.

Think Wilf would be impressed if he knew the students of his namesake school wasted so much money on a pointless bit of architecture? I think he would much rather it have been spent benefiting the student body rather than on something that inconveniences people.

One Comment

  1. Simply, I agree with the ‘for the hawk’ perspective and believe that this is a goofy but worthwhile tradition for past and present students at Laurier.

    I’ve walked through this hallway during student rush hour countless times, and have not once been inconvenienced by walking around the hawk on the floor. If you’re bumping into people, running into walls, or tripping over your own feet, maybe you should put the cell phone away and focus on putting one foot in front of the other.

    The hawk on the floor is an icon for Laurier students, and walking around it is a pretty simple way to show some respect for the school and help establish some level of community, no matter how small.

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