By Kevin Shaw
The Pixels — those shiny spheres, the big colorful balls by Trenton Hall — have been a hard-to-miss landmark at the College for eight years now. Visiting students make jokes about their existence while freshman climb on top and smile for the camera. Although the Pixels are often an object of ridicule, there’s something quintessentially “TCNJ” about them.
Why have the Pixels become a landmark at the College? It could be the fact that two of them are blue and gold, our school colors. It could be the beauty in their simplicity. Maybe it’s just their location, inside one of the busiest thoroughfares on campus. Whatever the reason, one thing is certain — the Pixels are in shambles.
Once a bright and shining installation, the Pixels have fallen to wreck in the nearly a decade since the College welcomed them. Harsh New Jersey winters have been rough on them, peeling the paint from the tops. Others, exposed to the trees and the wind, have picked up a gnarly layer of dirt and grime.
The Pixels weren’t always in such a sorry state, but even in their prime, they weren’t pristine for long. The Pixels were vandalized with spray paint just one week after their installation, according to a Signal article from 2009.
Angela Chong, current interim vice president of Student Affairs and then associate dean of students and director of student conduct at the time, stated that the College has “no tolerance” for the destruction of campus property and gave her assurance that if the perpetrators were found they would be punished.
The spray paint was swiftly removed and the College buffed the spheres with Armor All, which gave the artwork added protection.
Eight years later, that very same artwork that everyone made such a big fuss about is in disarray. Surely, vandalizing campus property is heinous, but where’s the outrage for letting it slowly decline to the state that it’s in?
We’ve seen the College react to mistreatment of our Pixels with swift and effective action, and since then, it appears, it won’t even give a monthly spray down to clear the grime. This piece of art was deemed important enough to be given a place in our home, but not important enough to be maintained and cared for the way it deserves.
Meanwhile, several construction projects have made huge additions to the campus community. The new STEM Building, the beautiful renovations to the Brower Student Center, new signs out front, a new equipment shed in Lions Stadium — the list goes on and on. It’s wonderful that these additions are being made. Additions like that make the campus a more desirable place to be. But as important as it is to forge a new path forward, the road behind us must be maintained.
The Pixels are an integral part of the College. Unless they are removed, they must be taken care of, because they’re ours — our beautiful landmark and our responsibility.