Rumors abound about the arrival of these little guys. As explained by Dr. [name redacted], Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Design, “Well, as you know, the Art and Design Department was on pretty friendly terms with the gnome community on the east quad when we were in Ellis Hall, especially the guys from the big warrens under the Dawn Redwood trees. They’d come hang out around the forge area under Hill Hall, and a few of them would always show up at Raku firings—I guess it smells like one of their mushroom barbecue cookouts. In any case, since the move to Brick City we’ve seen them a lot less frequently, but some of us were on the main campus a few weeks ago and ran into some of them—they sat us down for a little chat over this amazing oak leaf hydrangea tea they make and their weird little acorn flour crumpets.”
“So we talked to a couple of their representatives, Gunnar Haraldsson and Torvald Magnussen—they’re members of their Great Council—who pitched a proposal they wanted to collaborate on. They explained to us that things have been changing in their community over the last couple of years.” All of the renovations—Art Annex, Siceluff, and now Ellis—have caused some seismic instability in the warrens, and with the increase in student population it is getting harder to exist separately, they explained. The gnomes can still get across distances using the steam tunnels under campus, but above ground there’s increasingly dangerous foot traffic: Torvald reported, “Just last veek vas big group von jogging class? I tot I vas gonna get squvashed!” As Dr. [redacted] noted, “The gnomes are essentially experiencing some environmental stress as their ecosystem changes. So, they’ve decided that they want to integrate better into the university community, to come out of the warrens and mix with the rest of us a bit more and to really join campus life.”
According to Dr. [redacted], one thing the gnomes are planning as part of an outreach effort is a performance next week, described as a sort of tableaux vivant presentation on the theme of Homecoming and which will be staged on the east quad. Gunnar added that it will be “epic… totally vick-ed.”
The presentation will take place in conjunction with the launch of a home-stay, host-family program: for a small processing fee members of the human community will be paired with a gnome—or gnomes—at Homecoming who will head home with them: Dr. [redacted] notes that each gnome is thoroughly vetted and has identification papers. The Art and Design student organizations Clayworks, Sculpt It, and the Jewelry Students Association are assisting with the performance logistics and with the program paperwork. Torvald and Gunnar hinted that if all goes well it might become something of an annual tradition.