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A window to the campus soul?

Theresa Biggs
Theresa Biggs stands in front of her most recent messages at Rohlman Hall.

May 2012 | by Craig DeVrieze

See pictures of Theresa's windows here 

She was like Plato with play-doh.

Unpacking for her first year of college dorm-room living in Room 121 of Rohlman Hall last summer, Theresa Diggs came across a blue window-painting marker.

Who knows why it was there? But what could the Davenport Central graduate do but make a beeline to her first -floor window and pen a message?

Which was? "Flirty, nerdy ..." Diggs said with a sheepish giggle. "It was just for fun."

But then Diggs noticed the people striding by her central-campus window on the northwest side of the residence hall began to stroll just a little bit slower that first week. Some stopped. A few read the message aloud.

"And, I thought ‘Oh wow,'" Diggs remembered. "I can put something up here that actually means something and people will walk away and remember. Then, I started finding cool quotes."

She shared them slowly at first. A loft bed situated in front of the window made inside painting somewhat of a gymnastic exercise and the onset of winter cooled Diggs' passion for painting her messages on the outside panes.

"Toward the end of the year, I wrote more because it was warm out," she said.

Plato? OK. Not exactly. Messages such as: "Yesterday is history. Tomorrow a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it's called the present" surely never will be basis for a theology thesis.
But Diggs did hear that more than one teacher repeated her pop psychology messages in their classrooms last year. And on a drizzly April mid-afternoon when the workload was heavy and the energy was sagging, "today is a gift" was a warm and fuzzy, ground-floor reminder that if a Bee can keep his chin up, his attitude just might follow.

(Feel free to borrow that last part when you bring out the window paint next semester, Theresa. No charge.)

Diggs found the bulk of her messages via the miracle of Google, she confessed. And she doesn't even know who authored her personal favorite: "No one looks back on their life and remembers the nights they got plenty of sleep." But you have to admit that's a worthwhile reminder to milk every minute out of every day. (Or as the late Warren Zevon once more basely bellowed: "I'll sleep when I'm dead.")

Diggs' window-front philosophizing picked up pace as the end of the school year approached, she said, because she realized Rohlman 121 was pretty prime real estate on a heavily traversed sidewalk.

"I was like ‘I'm running out of time to get a message out," she said. "Because I really wanted to be philosophical and give people some inspiration."

That's going to be a little harder to accomplish from her sophomore home in a fourth-floor North Hall room facing Harrison Street. But Diggs isn't going to stop philosophizing on the glass. Pilots of low-flying airplanes and giraffes passing by might need inspiration, too.

Meanwhile Rohlman Hall director Erica Saviuk said she won't object should the next residents in 121 feel Theresa Diggs' pane, so to speak. At least not so long as they keep the messages upbeat and appropriate.

"I would definitely be up for it," the RA said. "I just think it adds life."

Plato might even concur.



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