Members of Gamma Sigma Phi descended on Walling Lecture Hall Dec. 12 to remove and preserve parts of their storied meeting place.
The GSP officer team, headed by former club president Drew Ritchie from Lake Jackson, approached the ACU administration and the Department of Mathematics to inquire about preserving part of Walling. The two parties settled on allowing the social club to take the chairs from Walling.
Members of GSP converged on Walling after fall commencement Dec. 12.
“In a cheesy way, Walling, the room itself, was a symbol of some really awesome things,” said Ritchie who graduated in December.
GSP began meeting in Walling during the spring semester of 1989 after it was rechartered, said Ed Allred, the senior sponsor of the club.
“It kind of has that sense of place, which we grew into over the years,” he said.
Now, 25 years later, it is bitter for many GSP members to see Walling reduced to rubble.
“I don’t know if we will ever have access to a room that is ours like we had with Walling,” said Gabriel Guerra, GSP officer. “GSP has been meeting in there since before I was born. There is a lot of tradition there, so it sucks a little bit to see that tradition go. That’s why I love that this generation of club went so far to give it the appreciation it’s due.”
Walling was the go-to meeting place for the club. Members met there every Wednesday for club, hosted Sing-Song practices, events with women’s clubs and pledging events. For many club members, Walling was a second home.
“There is no place at ACU that I’ve spent more time in than there except for my dorm,” said Guerra, junior psychology major from Edinburg.
Though the transition out of Walling is bitter, acquiring the chairs allowed GSP to preserve some of the memories, Allred said. The memory preservation helped him move on and make peace with the transition, he said.
“It was kind of like, OK, I’m over it now. So we’ve got a new place to meet, we’ve got the memories, good people and good times, and that’s what matters,” Allred said.