Today: Feb 27, 2024

Toy soldiers anonymously popping up around campus in battle

Sean Meenaghan -- Photo EditorMELISSA CHICKER News Writer

Students of Southern walk the campus daily to get to class, to their dorms or to go study in the library. They tend to notice the big things going on around campus: construction, events, or campus activities.
But something small has caught the eye of many students around campus, something unusual, and something so small many have probably missed it while walking to class in Engleman Hall or Buley Library. They are green plastic toy soldiers.
“I saw a bunch in the stairwell in Engleman and about a half dozen outside of the men’s third floor bathroom in the library,” said Derek Torrellas, freshman journalism major. “Whoever put them there set them up like they were having a battle, there were soldiers down and everything.”
The toy soldier has become such talk, that the Student Supportive Services and Veterans Center has begun collecting them. So far they have collected seven of the maybe dozens of soldiers still hiding about campus and will continue to collect them until they have the whole army, said Laura McKay, secretary of the center.
“This campus is so big, I don’t know how they were noticed,” she said.
How they managed to get on Southern’s campus, nobody knows. Who put them there still remains a mystery. Could they have magically come alive like the toy soldiers in the animated movie “Toy Story?” No one knows, but talk around Southern about these children’s toys is everywhere.
“I continued to see them everywhere: the library, the physiology department and the student center,” said Liz Richards, student worker of the Veterans Center. “I just started picking them up and bringing them in.”
It is believed these toys began popping up in the library just after Veterans Day on Nov. 11; it is unclear if the person who put them there continued to put others around campus or if students saw them, took them and began placing them around campus themselves.
“I found some in my office but came to find out the person who put them there found them in the hallway,” said Katie Roberge, senior communications major. “I think whoever did this is genius. It gives people who are walking around different buildings on campus a laugh on their way to class or work. I thought it was entertaining.”
Roberge found her toy soldiers in her office at the WSIN Southern radio station. One of the radio members found it in the student center and thought it would be funny to put in her office. While Roberge found the soldiers amusing, she also liked the idea of something different sparking the interest of students on campus.
“It’s something for once that isn’t degrading or demeaning, just plain fun,” said Roberge.
Was this a prank that someone started to see if they could anonymously receive attention with an act so random? Could it have been a part of a class project that someone forgot to pick up? It still remains uncertain where these mysterious soldiers came from, and why toy soldiers were chosen.
If the culprit of these soldiers wishes to step forward and solve the mystery, please do so. But for now students, faculty and staff seem to enjoy being kept in the dark and so may the culprit. For some, it could be fun to imagine where they could have come from and let the imagination run wild.

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