Anything but a gator

In early November of 2022, a 14-foot-long wooden Gator statue was placed between Reis and Brooks Halls. The wood for the statue was salvaged from a fallen red maple tree next to Carnegie due to a storm in July 2021. Usually, the wood would be discarded or cut for firewood, but due to the involvement of the Allegheny and Meadville communities, the wood was repurposed for a different cause. The overall level of collaboration that took place was exemplary as Physical Plant had the idea of salvaging and repurposing the fallen tree after Meadville city workers cleared the remnants of the storm, even commissioning local chainsaw artist Brian Sprague to transform part of the wood into the beautiful sculpture we are presented with on campus.
One thing of note is the location of the sculpture, as I think it is situated in a terrific spot. It will garner attention from the students who frequently travel through Brooks Walk, as well as family, friends and alumni, who normally attend events around or at Brooks who will be seeing the statue on full display for their stay on campus.
Did we really need another gator on campus though? I don’t think so. The long-standing gator in front of the Henderson Campus Center stands for Allegheny and its vision, yet that same gator is being labeled the “piss gator” by a majority of the campus community, as it has been urinated on more than a handful of times. With past events and actions in mind, I don’t think we should have chosen to get another gator statue.
The newly implanted statue has a deep brown outer coat while being 14 feet long with a stiff body structure; I can only imagine what type of blasphemous nicknames we students will come up with.
Something more abstract that hasn’t been seen here at Allegheny would’ve been a better choice. Instead of a gator, do a bald eagle to represent American pride or a black bear for some of the sightings that have happened around campus. Literally, anything would do because it would be different. Allegheny has the resources, capabilities, and workforce to build some truly beautiful structures on campus, but they don’t. I’d like to wake up and look at something that gets my gears going, something that gets me thinking. If I am waking up to the same gator I see everywhere else on campus, I’d be desensitized from the meaning behind the gator which takes away the feeling of novelty altogether.
The issue I have with the statue is purely the choice of subject, and type of animal in this case. The gator is irreplaceable for the Allegheny community, but the newest installation of the gator is lackluster. The statue might be in place currently, but the landscaping around the area is still set to be completed in the spring, which gives me hope for more than just a gator. Maybe I just need to see the gator in a new light and a new background would most definitely help.