Soon, the spookiest thing on campus will no longer be the tuition bills but a twelve foot skeleton on the east quad.
Junior Jakob Wiegand created the “Put Home Depot Giant Skeleton on Valpo Campus’ Facebook group on Sept. 27 which has since grown to 414 members.
“I was out for coffee and when I came back, sat down and looked at my phone and pulled up Instagram and I saw the third post in two days about the giant skeleton from Home Depot,” Wiegand said. “I leaned over to my roommate and said wouldn't it be funny if we just decided to put a giant skeleton in the middle of campus out of nowhere...We looked into it and it kinda turned out to be a little too expensive for us to just kind of do it ourselves and so we decided to start a Facebook group..and that's kind of where we started out.”
Wiegand had only expected a few of his friends to join the Facebook group.
“Originally we had anticipated maybe like ten of our friends or something would kind of join in with us and we'd kind of mitigate the cost down by volume of people. But having jumped up to about 180 members in the group on the first day we just never expected anything like that,” Wiegand said.
Student Senate Vice President and roommate of Wiegand, Ben Jacobs was one of the first to be invited to like the page.
“I was actually home that weekend and I got a Facebook invite to join this group and the only members were my two roommates at the time so I’m like, what are they doing? I don't understand. I'm not going to accept this, I don't know what they're doing,” Jacobs said. “But honestly maybe four hours later the group already had like 30 or 40 members [i was like] okay this is catching on maybe I'll join the group.”
After seeing the growth of the Facebook group, Jacobs suggested Wiegand bring the idea to the senate.
“I told them like hey, I'm on senate...we have this thing called discretionary funds. We have $90,000 in that budget line. You only need about 300 for the skeleton, why don’t you apply for this grant,” Jacobs said. “They applied for the grant they asked for my help and then it went through all the stages...Monday night it passed discretionary funds, finance committee, and general assembly.”
The grant for the skeleton had passed through discretionary funds, the finance committee and student senate general assembly unanimously.
“I’m ecstatic. After senate passed it the other day I was just giddy. As soon as all the placards went up passing unanimously... I was wearing a mask and [you] couldn't see it but I was beaming, like a grin ear to ear, it was just fantastic to see that,” Wiegand said.
The next step for Wiegand is to find a skeleton as all Home Depots in the area are currently out of stock.
“So a lot of Home Depots right now are out of stock. Jakob Wiegand has been endlessly calling Home Depots,” Jacobs said. “He's going to be going to corporate to find out where he can find a skeleton, we're going to be looking at Home Depots beyond a 100 mile radius because we want this skeleton to come onto campus.”
According to Weigand the hope is to have the skeleton by the end of October.
“Early November as like, the latest this would go up,” Weigand said.
In addition to the skeleton, the proposal had asked for funds to buy hay bales to place at the base of the skeleton.
Once the skeleton is on campus, it will be student senate property leaving them to decide how long the skeleton can stay up. Student senate will also be working with facilities management and the student life office to ensure the skeleton is properly set up.
According to Weigand, what had started as a joke had turned into something more serious.
“As it kind of developed into something a little more serious, we started to take a look at what campus life has been like this year with COVID restrictions and students are kind of missing spectacles on campus,” Weigand said. “It's fantastic the unity that this is bringing in such a divisive time honestly I never expected anything like this to come out of that group.
According to Jacobs, the skeleton can help to provide a sense of unity among students.
“It just builds up morale on campus, it's something different, it's something that everybody can rally behind. One of our advisors said that we’re not going to be able to have the Christmas tree lighting this semester so this is kind of in lieu of that,” Jacobs said.