After winning the Monon Bell Saturday, the DePauw University Athletics Department has to answer a question they haven’t been asked in eight years. What do we do with it?
“I don’t want to see it behind a glass case,” said DePauw Athletic Director, Stevie Baker-Watson. “This is everyone’s bell to enjoy and we want to give people the opportunity to engage with it.”
In the past, the Hall of Fame room in the Lilly Center has housed the 300 pound Bell, but Baker-Watson has different ideas now that it’s back in Greencastle for the first time since her hiring in 2012.
In the coming year, DePauw Athletics will keep the Bell in the lobby of the Lilly Center rather than being tucked away. For the Athletics department, sharing this long awaited victory has been the goal since the Bell’s return.
Saturday night, in coordination with the Athletic Department, senior football players Matt Hunt and Ian Good, paraded the Bell to multiple different venues on campus, including duplexes on Jackson Street, fraternities Alpha Tau Omega and Delta Tau Delta, The Fluttering Duck, Moore’s Bar and Restaurant, and Hoover Hall.
“In the past it would go into the bowels of a fraternity house and never come out,” Baker-Watson said. “But the guys were very helpful and we prioritized being inclusive while celebrating.”
Baker-Watson emphasized the victory’s effect on the campus attitude. “This is everyone’s bell to enjoy. Obviously it symbolizes the win by the football team, but the rivalry is part of the fabric of the institution,” she said. “The team is a vehicle to have intense energy on campus. By making it available to everyone, I hope everyone will have a mother bear feeling and they won’t want to give it up next year.”
Not only does DePauw want to be able to share the Bell with its students, it also wants to include the surrounding community. The Athletic Department plans on creating a campus and community tour to multiple local businesses and venues on the square. Wasser Brewing Company, The Swizzle Stick, Tap House 24, and Eli’s Book Store will all serve as local businesses that will house the Bell for an extended period of time.
Junior Taulbee Jackson, a Cloverdale native, is happy to see DePauw reaching out to the community. “They have never had the Bell on the square, and anytime DePauw interacts with the town thats something to be happy about,” he said.
“It’s about coming together,” Baker-Watson said. “For DePauw and Greencastle, it’s about celebrating the strength of our community.”
For senior Leah Williams, her family was divided. Her father, a Wabash alumni, was devastated by the loss, but changed his mind quickly. “He saw pictures of DePauw students with the Bell and finally admitted that it was pretty cool that the school was so excited,” Williams said.
The Athletic Department is still currently planning its community tour. For now the Bell is housed in Hoover Hall where students can ring the bell and hear it echo against the high ceilings.