DePauw Fans Seeing Red in Greencastleby Scott Morrison '14 • November 13, 2013
DePauw students and fans have been seeing red in downtown Greencastle all week, and it’s not because DePauw has lost the last four Monon Bell games. What they have been seeing are pro-Wabash slogans and pictures painted on the inside of the windows of the building owned by Trudy and Greg Selvia located next door to the DePauw bookstore.
Their son, Brand Selvia ’17, is a freshman this year at Wabash. Brand’s choice of college is interesting because his family has called Greencastle home for over 20 years. ““I always jokingly tell people I "defected" from Greencastle,” Brand said. “I was always aware of the rivalry between the two schools, and I gradually grew to not necessarily like DePauw (for reasons other than the Monon Bell). But when you ask me what it's like to be here instead of there, I guess I will say that it is not uncomfortable, rather it feels just right.”
The Selvias are no strangers to making bold statements about Wabash in enemy territory. After Brand accepted admission to Wabash, he took his photo in his freshman t-shirt on DePauw’s campus with a proudly unfurled Wabash flag.
From that moment on, he and his family were plotting how they could make a statement during Bell Week. “All of us came up with the idea, but it was Brand mostly,” Trudy said. “When the building was still empty, we were talking, and since we own another building on the square where my office is, we were just going to put it in my windows. Then we thought since all these great big windows are open, let’s see if we can come up with something. We went old school and decided to paint them up.”
After a failed attempt by the Selvia’s during Homecoming weekend to acquire a used float and proudly display it in the shop, they knew they had to make a statement during Bell Week. “I wanted to do a "spirit service", if you will, to the college that I have grown to love so much, and I figured it would be the least I could do to let the Sphinx Club come down and enjoy this endeavor,” Brand said.
Trudy contacted former Sphinx Club president and Greencastle native Tyler Wade ’12 who put her in communication with current Sphinx Club president Ian Baumgardner ’14.
On Sunday, Baumgardner and Sphinx Club rhynes David Newhart, Clint Scarborough, and Zach Haltom traveled down south to help Trudy execute the Selvia’s plan. “I don’t think they had an idea exactly what our plan was until they got here Sunday,” Trudy said. “I think they thought we were just going to do a little window in my office. We still may try to get my office windows before Saturday.”
Once they got going, the guys basked in the opportunity to display some Wabash pride in the heart of Greencastle. “This is one of the best experiences I have had at Wabash thus far,” Scarborough said. “Wabash College has a lot of tradition, but, in my personal belief, Bell Week is one of my favorite traditional aspects of the College. Being able to take part in these shenanigans was extremely fun. They hide the prize, we put it on display. This experience really emphasized that aspect of Wabash culture.”
It literally took minutes before local residents and DePauw students became alarmed at the Wabash infiltration of their downtown area. “There was a DePauw student who didn’t necessarily like what was going on,” Trudy said. “She saw the guys in the window, and she was very unhappy. Someone called public safety at DePauw (we think her), and within 20 minutes there was a DePauw public safety officer there.”
The public safety officer is a friend of Trudy’s and was simply concerned someone had broken into the building, but a little while later, DePauw President Brian Casey stopped by the building. “He wasn’t necessarily impressed or happy with what we were doing,” Trudy said. “He thought at first that you guys had rented the space to paint it. They all know my son goes to Wabash. We aren’t in any way hiding that. We are proud of it.”
So far the windows have been safely preserved, and it looks like Wabash red will be there to stay. Well, at least until Saturday evening. “I hope that the message that the windows send is one suggesting that the rivalry is still alive and competitive as it has always been,” Brand said. “Especially with the way that the art has been received by both schools, it has become clear that both sides take this football game very seriously.