That seems to be the only explanation for the exponential increase in number of banners and flags that have appeared all over campus.
The most noticeable of these new morsels of eye candy (of sorts) are the red quarter-circles with an unidentified leaf on them that adorn lampposts and poles along various sections of Campus Drive. The question, here, is not ‘do they look nice?’; nor is it why did Stanford spend money on them/who donated them/it was Arrillaga, wasn’t it? Rather, the important question here is: what does that leaf mean?
At my level of botanical knowledge, all I can identify are maple leaves (Canada) and marijuana leaves (stoner t-shirts). The leaves on the red flags along Campus Drive, however, are neither of these, nor does Stanford have a particular affiliation with any specific member of the leaf family that I know of. Is there some importance to this leaf? If Stanford is trying to prove that we do have real, live leaves on campus, there has to be a better way of promoting this fact than with huge red banners.
If it were a tree instead of a leaf, it also might make some sense–after all, Stanford’s mascot is the (socially awkward) tree. Perhaps the Office of Risk Management has determined that the tree is too intimidating of a symbol to represent our school, and as such the university is trying to subtly change the mascot to the tree’s less intimidating younger sibling, the leaf. Go Fightin’ Leaves!
In addition to these banners, White Plaza has a new set of decorations: small, white Stanford banners and performing arts banners adorn the tops of the tall pirate-ship masts that were put in as part of the White Plaza renovation last year.
Moreso than any other set of new fluttering decorations installed, the White Plaza banners are very aesthetically pleasing. They almost make you forget that there are heinous concrete impediments and the aforementioned pirate ship poles strategically placed to get in people’s way. These banners promote arts and performance–Dance, Drama, Performance, and Speech are just a few; this promotion, however, is unfortunately ironic since the performing arts are some of the most underfunded aspects of campus.
There are even more banners besides these: the Med School has had their fun, too: they are celebrating 50 years of Medicine with commemorative banners. When we get enough money, maybe TUSB will get a banner–but until then, we can only hope that Arrillaga will donate it for us.