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the Campanile (the Shaft)

    The Kessler Campanile is an 80-feet tall stainless steel tower. Lit from within and capable of belting out a carillon version of "Ramblin' Wreck" or Olympic theme music, its shape is reminiscent of the cherished Tech Tower, yet has a contemporary new look. Because of its nod to tradition as well as its emphasis on the future, the Campanile has been incorporated into Georgia Tech's new logo and graphic identity.

    This is the official story of the arrival of the shaft to Tech campus. Many will argue, however, that its origins have a much deeper place in the Institute's history:

    ""Carefully built out of the toughest of metals, this monument is only a visual reminder of the ever-presence of the shaft. The shaft is all encompassing, the shaft is all avenging. The shaft has no acquaintances, the shaft is the shaft."

    This is an excerpt from the website of CoTS, the Cult of The Shaft, and it serves to emphasize how much power and influence this big pointy needle symbolizes. For decades, the notion of the shaft has been a part of Tech, standing for all of the trials and tribulations of campus life, from failing Calculus and E-Mag (2, 3, 4 times...) to having administration "shaft" us in our daily activities. We have the evil professor Shaft (goes by STAFF in course listings) that everyone has to take at least once in their college career, the housing shafts of renovations (anyone who's lived in a dorm that has been "renovated" can sympathize), the tuition shaft... you get the idea.

    Now, we have been given a symbol of our pain, a physical embodiment of everything cruel and spiteful in college. We gather around it to hear bands play, doomsday activists shout for repentance, and protesters and impassioned students wax philosophy. Anyone going into or coming out of the student center or the bookstore will see the shaft before them, serving as a grim reminder of grades past and grades to come.

    Of course, there are some good points to the campanile. Its fountain and the seating around provide a good place to study and to relax. In the spring and summer, it's an ideal place to lay out and tan. Its bells give us music throughout the day, and it has a certain beauty. Some students may debate the importance of these things, but in every way the campanile seems to have become the new symbol of Georgia Tech, a modernized Tech tower.

    So what fun things have been done to the shaft? Students bow down and worship it, some try to throw hula-hoops around the top, others indulge in the surrounding fountain (swim, suds, and color). Most of us simply fear and respect it.


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