The Official Student Newspaper of Calvin College Since 1907
February 6, 2009
Volume 103, Issue 17
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Will the real Moses please stand up?
  Enlarge Photo courtesy of The Real Moses

Until recently, the infamous Moses statue has been hidden and has sadly become unknown to most current Calvin students. But now, Moses is making a comeback, and it is important that everyone knows at least a little of what he stands for. Given as a class gift by the graduating Prep class of 1925, Moses sat atop his perch at the entrance to the Franklin Street chapel at the old campus.

Moses quickly found himself not only as a remarkable work of art but also as a coat rack, a test dummy for unmentionables and so on. Moses soon discovered a hidden talent: that of relocating himself almost magically. Suddenly, the poor statue became involved in Calvin’s largest game of hide-and-seek while staff frantically tried to recapture the statue and rid the campus of his troublesome character. This game became a threat to the previously stable relationship between administration and students and quickly created turmoil and fury. Moses has been everywhere from the ceiling of the old Fieldhouse to the CJ in Vanderwerp. Amidst all of the fighting were car chases, brawls and food fights — of course students back then were much more reckless and irresponsible than today’s students.

In 1954, after 30 years of Moses’ mischief, Pete Hoekstra hacked the statue to bits at his retirement party. Students tried to recreate the butchered statue to much dismay and after more turmoil and fighting Moses went missing, never to be found again ... or so everyone thought.

In the early 2000s a class from the 1970s donated a brand-new Moses statue (that was in good condition) to Calvin College to restart the fizzled-out tradition with the hopes of restoring school spirit and a sense of tradition to the school.

Unfortunately, the past few years have been hard for Moses — he has been stuck in some unpleasant places — but now, after being locked up, he is ready to see the world again and has recently found himself in the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. With a little bit of manna and some strong prayer Moses will be making an appearance at an upcoming Calvin event.

The main point of the Moses figure is to show the statue at large Calvin events as a sign of tradition and a strong sense of good ol’ Calvin pride. Once the statue is shown, it is fair game for retrieval by a new set of Elders (or Eldresses). The tricky part comes when it is time to be passed on. Moses requests that there be no broken windows, no injuries and no major harm done while trying to gain his favor. This statue is a sign of Calvin tradition and it is being restored with the hopes that it can be done responsibly and respectfully. After all, the statue is property of Calvin College. Other than that, the rest is up for grabs.

The lesson here: be on the lookout for Moses at Calvin events and try to creatively plot how you can become the new Elders.

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