By Ethan Hughes

It’s now official: institutional memory is dead. This tragedy, which so many of us had brushed off as upperclassmen whining about change like boomers, has come to pass. Grinnell has been forever and irrevocably harmed, its foundation shaken, our trust in the college demolished. The swing set by the JRC has been removed. 

This swing set was a staple of the Grinnellian experience, nestled in the geriatric heart of the campus. Every first year walked by that swing and whispered to themselves, “Once I find a friend, I’m going to swing on that.” 

Every fourth year has walked past it and bemoaned, “Damn, I wish I made a friend to swing on those with me”. 

No other feature of the campus has united campus like the swing set. The hammocks make an effort, but the looming threat of turkey vulture excrement detracts from their value. The Bird scooters pleased some, while others complained about them being left in inconvenient or dangerous locations (Seriously, we are all adults: we can take our scooters out of the shower and not make it someone else’s problem). Even our hatred of the administration can’t unite Grinnellians, cause that jerk Jim keeps defending them. 

The swingset was the one temple of unity on campus, a shrine to communal fondness/apathy. It was the third-best place to lean against a pole and talk on campus. It was a light workout space when the Bear was closed. It was a location with pliable ground to bury deceased B&S interns. It was a Grinnellian icon. The jewel of the campus in the Jewel of the Prairie. Unlike last week, when the prematurely B&S claimed institutional memory died, this time it’s real. Institutional memory is truly gone—just like our beloved swing set.