Chalk Messages Appear Before Open House

Student Ambassadors Caught Off-Guard for Tours

Chalked+sidewalk

Photo by Jackie Letaiugyang

The night before a BC open house, several unidentified students chalked the sidewalk with messages related to the SRA report. Student ambassadors giving tours maintain positivity instead of dwelling on what “might or might not still be here.”

Jackie Letaiugyang, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va. – A day before BC’s first open house of the fall semester, an Instagram account posted a story encouraging followers to grab their chalk and “take to the sidewalks to spread the word that we want to save our programs, staff, and professors.” 

Student ambassadors woke up on Saturday, Oct. 17, the day of an open house for prospective students and their families, to find phrases such as “save our professors” and “save our programs” chalked on the sidewalks that surround the campus mall where the tours take place.

The managers of the Bridgewater College Complaints Instagram account, who do not wish to be identified, wrote in a direct message that they were aware of open house and that they “figured the chalked sidewalk would also help applicants be more informed about the state of things here at Bridgewater.” 

“It’s important to know all of the information about a school before one applies,” wrote the person who launched the account. 

Junior student ambassador Kylie Chisnell said the admissions office was not aware of the chalked sidewalk and that it was brought to their attention by student ambassadors. 

“I was not directly asked questions but there were a few places near my station that were chalked, and I definitely saw some people looking at them, which in itself sends a message,” said Chisnell. 

According to Admissions Counselor MaryBeth Killian, the admissions office has been encouraging student ambassadors to be honest about what they know about the SRA process. 

“These things are happening to better Bridgewater [College]; even though it seems to be hurting it rather than seeming like it’s bettering it,” said Killian. 

The only SRA-related situation Killian said she has directly faced is one of her prospective students desires to major in philosophy and religion. 

“I had to call her and let her know that the major might or might not still be here,” said Killian. “I assured her that we definitely still want her at BC, and we can try and find another avenue for her to do whatever she wants to do. She was very understanding of the situation.”

Senior Emmeline Mejia did not have anyone on any of her tours raise questions about the cutting of programs or what messages about saving professors and staff meant. 

“Being a student ambassador, I have to remain neutral in my feelings and opinions of the situation because it is a job that I’m hired to do,” said Mejia. “My job is to help the school bring in folks so the school can still be a school next year.” 

One tour stop is the KCC dining hall. A rumor is circulating that there may be an end to unlimited entries to the KCC given the language in the SRA report that calls for meal plans to be “modified to improve overall financial efficiency of the function while maintaining high value to students.” However, no final decisions have been made.

“On tours, we try to focus on the ‘here and now.’ Obviously, we’ve always mentioned we have bigger plans for the future,” said Chisnell. “Things like the SRA process and the rumors about limited swipes, usually we don’t mention those on tours.”  

The open house, which was originally going to be held at the Jopson Athletic Complex, was changed to a largely indoor event, other than the tours, due to the uncertainty of weather and the number of students who registered to attend. 

The low number of registered prospective students had “nothing to do with the release of the SRA but rather for COVID-19 reasons,” Killian said.