Years of paint stripped from “Gibby”

Posted Thursday, September 23, 2010 - 4:50pm

Something has been stripped down and naked… it is something you would surely notice as you walked past it. Wouldn’t you think? Many students at Utah State University-College of Eastern Utah pass by this historic marker on the campus everyday as they walk to class or pass through the Jennifer Leavitt Student Center.

This marker is Gibby, a large rock located near the student center. Students are allowed to paint Gibby at anytime and repaint it nearly every week with announcements, ads and art. The true name of the rock is Gibraltar. However, later on it was given the nickname “Gibby.”

The tradition of Gibby began in 1940. A group of freshmen guys brought the 1,500 pound sandstone bolder onto campus. The guys painted the rock green and decorated it with a white “41.” This is when the bolder was no longer just a rock, but a school tradition.

In response to this, the sophomores challenged the freshmen to a sack race to determine which color the rock should be painted. The sophomores won and the color of the rock was changed to red with a white “40” across it. Since that day, students have participated in the tradition of painting and decorating Gibby.

On the day following Club Rush, students began to notice that Gibby was stripped of all its paint, down to the original bolder. Some students and faculty are upset about this event. Most others don’t seem to care much about it or have even have noticed the new appearance of the rock. Sophomore Melissa Hebel said, “I don’t really care that much about it. It is just a rock. Although I have wondered how it would look like with all the paint gone. I guess someone else thought the same thing too.”

Gibby over the years has been a way for students to express themselves. Students often will paint the rock just for fun or to promote an activity on campus. Personal and meaningful messages and designs have been written on Gibby every decade. Even activities such as True Eagle have taken place at the rock. During this event, couples or even friends can share a smooch over the rock. These activities are usually held every couple of months a semester over a full moon.

Student Michael S. Johnson also expressed his feelings about Gibby being stripped. “I just think that it’s a shame that someone took it upon themselves to destroy that much history. Usually when someone paints Gibby it means something to them. It makes a statement. This person wasn’t making a statement. They were undoing the statement of others.”

The rock was left bare for about a week..But since the occurrence of “Gibby” being stripped, it has been repainted by a small group of students who took it upon themselves to repaint the rock Sept. 18.

The next True Eagle will take place on Thursday, Sept. 23 at midnight, following the Stoplight Dance which will be in the Multipurpose room of the JLSC.

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