Denison University campus has some rules and myths that have developed over the university’s two centuries of existence. From legends and superstitions, to issues of safety and wellness, here are 5 things that you should avoid.
1.) The Seal
On the academic quad stands beautiful Swasey Chapel, established in the early 1900s, preceded by a brick walkway known as Chapel Walk. Embedded on that path lays the Denison seal and, according to superstition, students who step on this seal will not graduate. Don’t be surprised if you see crowds of students moving around this part of the walkway as if they’re avoiding an invisible sinkhole. Of course, it is all in fun but for some students, the thinking is “better safe than sorry.”
2.) Ghost Stories
Although Denison is one of a few campuses with a cemetery, there are little to no rumors about ghosts there. However, there are spooky tales about a ghost in the Doane Library. Students who have fallen asleep on the fifth floor have reported being woken by a female ghost who hits them on the back of the head and seems to target male students in particular. Don’t slack off on your studies or she might give you a wake up call.
The majority of local ghost sightings and paranormal activity have been reported below the hill at Buxtonn Inn. Two innkeepers, a black cat, and a stagecoach driver reportedly haunt this charming hotel filled with antique furniture. Paranormal enthusiasts continue to explore this hotel to this very day. Unless you “ain’t afraid of no ghost”, you might want to avoid checking in here.
3.) Big Red Buzzards
Denison University’s athletics department was changed to Big Red due to its previous “Indian-themed” mascot and, although it continues to lack a mascot, students and faculty have adopted the “buzzard” to symbolize Denison. Spend a little time on campus, particularly near Mitchell Center, and you’ll likely encounter one of the 400 turkey and black vultures who have made a home for themselves on the hill. These large vultures rarely cause problems for students but that doesn’t make them any less creepy or ominous. Students aren’t particularly fond of these large, carnivorous birds but they are a part of the land nearly year-round, whether they are liked or not. These vultures, known as Buzzards, keep a respectful distance from students and vice versa, but you can get up close and personal with them via Denison’s unofficial Buzzard costumed mascot.
4.) A Slippery Slope
Don’t be fooled by the relatively small size of campus. Travel on foot between quads can take some time, especially in the winter months when the sidewalks and roads are slick and icy. Most residential, academic and administrative buildings are on top of the hill, with some sloped back toward north quad. But there are some academic buildings and two dorms on south quad, which is at the bottom of a very steep hill. If you anticipate taking any artistic courses, or plan to spend some time exploring Granville, be aware that traveling up/down this giant hill can be physically exhausting and time consuming. You’ll want to avoid scheduling classes and/or activities too close together, time-wise, if you need to trek down the hill, which can take up to 20 minutes depending on the weather and your physical ability. Unfortunately, there are no shuttles for travel between quads and biking up the hill is best left to highly experienced cyclists.
5.) Find A Buddy
Usually, campus is alive with activity and you can find students and faculty mingling on every quad. There is a sense of community, and with that there can be a false sense of security. When you need to travel across campus, or walk down the hill into Granville, you should avoid walking alone. Also, keep in mind that there are campus security patrols around the clock and you can find illuminated call boxes to reach security if needed. Even though it is a small campus, the same risks exist at Denison as with any other college. Be proactive when it comes to safety and, if you can do it safely, offer to be a walking budding for someone else.
Ashley Briggs earned her Bachelor’s Degree at Denison University and currently lives in San Diego, California. By day, she works at an adolescent treatment facility and by night, she is a freelance writer.