Swinging into the new semester

The story behind the new bench swings that appeared on Xavier’s campus

During your first day back at Xavier, you may have noticed the new bench swings that have been placed in several outdoor spaces around campus. The plans for the swings have been in the works since the fall semester of 2018, but were finally carried out at the start of the 2019-2020 school year. 

The swings started as the project of former Student Government Association (SGA) senator and current junior Katy Schuller during her term. The project was also possible because of her work with ‘19 graduate Jacob Jansen, the former chair of the Residential Affairs Committee.

“I believe that (the bench swings) help to make the campus more open and inclusive,” Schuller said. “I envisioned it as another spot to enjoy our beautiful campus. I hope that people use them to sit and talk with their friends or as a spot outside the dorm room for a peaceful moment.”

After bringing the project to Jansen, Schuller worked with the Vice President for Facilities at the Physical Plant Bob Sheeran for a stretch of three months to organize the details.

The project was approved by Father Michael Graham, president, in November 2018, and the swings were ordered on March 7 of this year. They were then assembled and put around campus at the start of this semester.

There are currently six bench swings placed throughout campus. With each swing costing a little less than $250, the grand total of the project is estimated at $1,500. The initiative was funded by the Student Government Senate project fund.

“It’s a nice way to find a shady spot and catch a breeze, and it’s more fun than just sitting in a lawn chair,” sophomore business major Clarissa Dixon said. “It reminds me of a lot of the porch swing we have at home.” 

Sophomore nursing major Hannah Thomas agrees. “I like to sit down with music and a friend and see all the people I know walk around campus,” Thomas said.

Thomas’s only complaint is that one of the swings is a bit off-center and doesn’t swing properly. She believes it would be a good idea to consider placing more permanent bench swings around campus. 

While the bench swings do provide an extra place to sit on campus, Schuller echoes Thomas’s concerns about the longevity of the project.

Schuller highlighted that the bench swings are moveable. She even encourages students to move them around to find a shady spot to sit or study. However, one of the six bench swings has already broken as a result of their movability.

Schuller said she thinks it would be a good idea for a future SGA senator to get more funding for a more permanent solution. 

“Students seem to be really enjoying them, so I would like to see them upgraded to something more long-term, like bolted metal,” she said.

As of the beginning of the semester, the location of the swings are as follows: two outside of Kuhlman Hall, two on the Fenwick upper yard and two on the main Xavier Yard.

By Joseph Cotton | Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Katy Schuller