JRC- Melanie Gardner ‘18 waits patiently among the hoards of students lining the first floor of the JRC. Each of them eagerly waiting for their shot at handcrafting a pair of chopsticks made from the finest wood Grinnell College has to offer. Grinnellians lost two beloved campus trees due to the erection of the massive new humanities building. “It’s a shame they had to cut down those trees, but I’m glad they are repurposing the wood.” said Gardner. Students toward the end of the line lounge comfortably in sleeping bags and hammocks. “Yeah man, I’ve been here since 4:30p.m.” said Peter Frasier ‘19, “I have 4 days worth of survival rations, 3 gallons of water, and 1 bucket. I’m in it for the long haul, I want those chopsticks!”

Jeremy Caplan, the admin behind the creatively named Project Mourning Wood, shared his excitement about the prospects for salvaged wood. “We really want to honor the trees that gave their lives for the new humanities building. Chopsticks are just the tip of the iceberg on this thing, we have several cutting edge ideas about fun ways to repurpose this wood; including but not limited to key chains, clogs, little cylinders to keep your bagels in, in fact, the very paper this article will be printed on is made from trees just like these ones! Our most ambitious goal is to get funding to construct a life sized replica tribute statue of the sycamore tree in the place where it once stood so proudly.” Caplan continued, “We are in the final stages of a contract with the pioneer basketball program to manufacture 200 artisanal basketballs made from the wood of our beautiful walnut tree. When it comes to making things out of wood, the possibilities are literally endless.”

These exciting projects appear to be creative and sustainable tactics to repurpose campus trees, but beneath the surface, a horrifying truth is revealed. An anonymous source from Project Mourning Wood revealed the terrible truth behind the conservation effort. “It’s just so much wood” they confessed in a state of panic, “Rooms! We have rooms and rooms full of this stuff! I see it when I sleep and I can always feel it watching me. I accidentally drove a 2x4 to daycare this morning and left my twins in a downstairs storage room in the BCA. I can’t take it anymore.” According to them, the sheer amount of wood is enough to drive anyone to the brink, and the problem does not end there. “I think we are making it angry. Every time we try to repurpose it, it grows in size and lets out an earsplitting roar.” they continued, “I’m done with this wood, man, these cold, dead tree carcasses are going to send me to an early grave. Help me, please!”

“I can’t wait to use them,” Patrick Horowitz, ’17, boasts about his new sycamore wood chopsticks, “It’ll be nice to feel connected to my college every time I enjoy a bowl of ramen. I got the salvaged wood keychain too, it’s the size of a standard yamtm so and it says GC2017 across the bottom. Totally rockin!” Students and faculty alike wait in careful anticipation for the next project to be announced.