OPINION: I ‘beat’ the Plaza of Heroines


Selena Favela

Plaza of Heroines located on the Wichita State campus.

There is, and always has been since I’ve been on campus, an extremely small percentage of students that walk through the Plaza of Heroines.

For the new or unaware, The Plaza of Heroines sits essentially at the center of campus, between Clinton and Lindquist Halls. The granite sculpture is a tribute to heroic women of all calibers and backgrounds.

Anyone, student or not, can buy a tribute to someone they believe is deserving of being memorialized in the plaza, living or dead.

So what rumor could possibly get in the way of something with such a great meaning? Supposedly, if a student walks through the plaza, they “won’t graduate in four years.”

The Sunflower has previously written about how the university has had to train tour guides not to spread that rumor anymore, deeming it internally misogynistic. Not a bad start, even if it kills the guides’ only material for jokes.

What’s truly unfortunate is that guides seemed to be so wrapped up in their stories that they sometimes fail to mention why the plaza even exists. Many students claim they are unaware of the plaza’s true significance.

When I first started going to school here, I also walked around the plaza. I’m not terribly superstitious, but for some reason, something about that rumor stuck with me subconsciously. Maybe it was because I saw so many other students avoid it.

But then, I thought to myself, “This is dumb.”

I started walking through the plaza whenever I got the chance — partly to stick it to all the students that hop on the bandwagon, but also because I paid more attention to the plaza every time I walked through. I started reading the names of women who have had a major impact on our community.

So I bought a brick for my own mother.

Not only is she my own personal heroine, but there’s no better way to kill the rumor in my own head than to contribute to the plaza’s mission myself. Now, it’s one of my favorite areas to walk by. It’s serene, inspirational, and a beautiful tribute to a group of people that historically have not gotten as much reverence as men.

And, I am graduating in three-and-a-half years instead of four.

Take that, superstition.