Facilities works on the fountain to repair ongoing issues. Photo by Hill.
Zoë Hill | Print Editor-in-Chief
Some things are just fundamentally “UD.” The Chapel, Marycrest monster cookies, porch living, St. Patrick’s Day and, of course, late-night dashes through the fountain are all a piece of the university’s iconic imagery.
For first-year, sophomore, junior, transfer and incoming students, the fountain out in front of Kennedy Union is nothing more than a folk story.
Nearly three years ago, the fountain was turned off. Campus has seen a number of changes since, including a pandemic-prompted evacuation of students and a year of remote learning.
“I think everyone can agree that the fountain is a very sentimental and a deep-rooted symbol of the community,” Junior Maddy Golightly said. “Especially with all of the changes around campus since COVID-19, a lot of us miss some of the special things about UD that we had had before.”
Golightly saw the fountain working on a college visit a year before she transferred to UD. Once she arrived on campus for the first time, the fountain was a thing of the past. She decided to take action and email President Spina about the state of the fountain.
“I came to realize that most, if not all the current freshmen, sophomores and juniors have never seen it on,” she said. “So after two and half years, it felt like it was the right time to say something.”
Golighty pled her case to Spina, namely mentioning how it would help the student body return to a sense of “normalcy” after pandemic lockdowns. She said Spina completely agreed.
“Maddy made it happen,” Spina said.
They both acknowledged facilities’ ongoing effort to get the fountain back on. Rick Krysiak, vice president for facilities management and planning, said it’s taken a year of periodic repairs to get to this point.
“We turned off the KU fountain when students left campus at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Krysiak said. “We had hoped to turn on the fountain last year. But while getting it ready, we found it needed repairs, some of them because the fountain had been offline for so long.”
The fountain still needs some work, Krysiak said. Facilities will be working on it to complete any remaining repairs, “which will occasionally take the fountain offline temporarily.”
While it’s tradition to run through the fountain, Golightly said she hasn’t had the opportunity to just yet. She said there are definitely plans to carry out a fountain run soon.
“I feel that the fountain being on again has really helped make campus whole again, even for the younger classmen who have never seen it on,” she said.
Even the words “Pro Deo et Patria” escribed on the concrete— which translates to “For God and Country”— embodies the spirit of what it means to be an American university and a Catholic institution, according to Golightly.