Behind the Yellow Tape

Behind the Yellow TapeBehind the Yellow Tape

By: Lauren Magarino, E23 Reporter

Construction. Billows of dust, yellow tape, milling hard hats, and trucks on the move made the Mizzou campus seem like a constantly moving machine. Expansions in sidewalks, dining halls, and residence halls were all readjusted counterparts, and with every change came amelioration to how the campus functioned. However, there was one project that promoted not only function, but also aesthetics. On October 24th 2014, located on the Carnahan Quadrangle across from Jesse Hall, dust settled, yellow tape disappeared and the Traditions Plaza was unmasked. A project that spanned over three years, was finally complete just in time for Mizzou’s 103rd Homecoming. David Roloff, director of alumni marketing and strategic communications, gave MUTV the lay down on all things behind the yellow tape.

“Three years ago, after the Mizzou Alumni Association’s first-ever brick project, Mizzou Legacy Walk was completed (that is the donor walkway leading off the front doors of the alumni center),” said Roloff, “The Executive Director of the alumni association asked staff to come up with ideas for the association’s next big project. I presented four ideas for new projects on campus and they were then presented to the Mizzou Alumni Association Governing Board. One concept floated to the top [Traditions Plaza] and we went from there.”

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The purpose of Traditions Plaza was not established solely for the celebration of the past 103 years of homecoming, but also to celebrate Mizzou’s 175th anniversary.

“Traditions Plaza has a variety of opportunities to honor MU’s history and heritage,” said Roloff, “MU traditions along with notable quotations are etched in the bricks and tiles that create the stage and pillars to make the plaza one of the most cherished and hallowed locations on central campus. Under the glow of Jesse Hall, Traditions Plaza includes the largest outdoor programming stage in central campus and is a perfect spot for concerts, outdoor movies, spirit rallies, outdoor classes as well as a gathering place for Mizzou family and friends.”

Reminiscent of an outdoor Greek amphitheater, Traditions Plaza was established as a space for entertainment. With a main stage and built in seating, concerts, films, and spirit rallies could convene and occur in one place. The space could also be used for educational purposes should a professor decide to hold class on a beautiful CoMo day. Overall it is a space that holds an immense amount of potential for future events and memories.

“[On opening day] Under blue skies, the Mizzou family joined Chancellor Loftin, Truman the Tiger, campus VIPs, members of Marching Mizzou and more than 700 visitors for the dedication ceremony,” said Roloff, “That evening, free refreshments and jazz music by MU’s Mike Neu Quartet greeted visitors who came to explore the plaza. Three wedding proposals, all using an etched donor paver to help pop the question, made the day even more special.”

While Traditions Plaza serves as a platform for new customs, it was also built to commemorate the old. Each of the 13,000 bricks has been laid down on the main stage with the opportunity for students, faculty, staff, friends, and fans to inscribe their names on them. Apart from that location, more inscribed bricks are available on the Mizzou Legacy Circle, which is set-aside for MU legacies and families.

“Etched into the granite tiles on the main stage and other locations around the plaza will be markers paying tribute to current and past MU traditions, notable alumni and historical happenings,” said Roloff, “A time capsule buried center stage will contain mementos from MU’s 175th anniversary and campus life in 2014. Traditions Plaza will serve as a symbol of MU’s pride of place and passion the Mizzou family has for Missouri’s flagship university.”

A simple testament lays engraved in three steps stating, “Proud art thou, In classic beauty, Of thy noble past,” Roloff plans on incorporating more aspects of Mizzou’s past into this new campus facet.

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“I am already putting together plans for more plaques, etchings and a limestone monolith carved with the Alma Mater,” said Roloff, “We have a lot of current traditions represented on the Plaza’s stage but we want to add more information about MU’s lost traditions (Savitar Follies, May Day, Miss Mizzou, etc.) so that the Plaza becomes more of a complete representation of who we were and want to be.”