Save Sewanee: An obituary

by Avery Kelly

Well, y’all, it’s official.

“Save Sewanee” is dead and gone. We at the Purple have warned of the imminent coming of the end of “Save Sewanee” days in the past. Today, however, we announce her death as more apparent than ever before. Sewanee alumni are increasingly coining the phrase as a vintage one from back in the day. Professors are joking about the “screen time” they see students systematically diving into before and after class and even during momentary seminar breaks. But this phenomenon is nothing new: the pervasive Smartphone culture that planted its feet upon our pure mountain soil just a couple of years ago has stood up against “Save Sewanee”– its greatest rival on campus- and threatened her since the beginning. Despite her efforts to stay strong, “Save Sewanee” was eventually clotheslined in a red rover game of Sewanee cultural norms and left, perhaps forever, in the past.

Affirming her final defeat is that a good handful of readers, perhaps the majority even, are currently asking themselves, “What even was ‘Save Sewanee’,” and after reading that ridiculous red rover metaphor might think she was a student tragically injured during PRE shenanigans. (And to you technologically-adept youngin’s, “smh.”) For those of you out there who never knew her, “Save Sewanee,” was a phrase students used to use (and maybe a couple still even do) to discourage their peers from fiddling around on their cell phones, texting, and making calls around campus. The idea was to preserve the unique Sewanee culture in which face-to-face relationships and time spent with fellow students was respected and enjoyed to the fullest, making sure hangout time wasn’t muddled with unnecessary technological distractions. Calling out “Hey, save Sewanee!” used to be a common friendly reminder (although sometimes also a slightly aggressive one) that Sewanee was supposed to be above the normal distractions and mindlessness that goes on in the outside world.

Luckily, at the time of “Save Sewanee’s” death, the campus community does not seem to be overtly suffering, and is even arguably just as inter-personally connected and ‘in the moment’ as ever. In the wake of “Save Sewanee’s” death, our newfound culture still seems to highly value student friendships and Sewanee interactions as much as in the past. However, a new and Smartphone-friendly social etiquette code no longer seems to deem “screen time” around campus as “un-Sewanee.” Routes to and from classes are not free from walkers-and-texters to say the least, and the “Save Sewanee” mantras that used to be so common are now nearly nonexistent.

At this turning pointin Sewanee culture, some comments by unnamed seniors suggest that “Save Sewanee” might not have been all she was cracked up to be, even during her prime. One student said “Save Sewanee” never would have existed if using cell phones had always been a realistic option: “It used to just be like, ‘hey, you asshole, stop showing off just because you have service right now. But now that everyone has it, it’s not a big deal.” Interestingly, another rather cynical source added, “Save Sewanee was never even real– it was just made up by the Arcadians, like the ‘passing hello’.” I know. That one was a lot to take in.

These controversial accusations continue to spring up in the wake of “Save Sewanee’s” death and may begin to taint her reputation. However, it is important to remember with a clear head that no matter how she came about or for what reasons, it is clearly the end of an era. Goodbye, “Save Sewanee,” rest in peace, friend!

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