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What’s With The Co-Motion?

Jim Amidon — It began about 4:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon, seconds after the final horn sounded in Wabash’s football victory at Denison University. Officially — at that moment — it became “Bell Week” at the College.

Anyone associated with Wabash — alumni, faculty, staff, football fans, casual observers — realize what the short phrase means. Bell Week means the college shifts 100 percent of its attention to the Monon Bell football rivalry with DePauw University.

Wabash freshmen stand guard around campus through the night to keep safe the famed Monon Bell and keep would-be vandals away from the college grounds.

Banners are made and hung from fraternity and residence hall windows.

And Thursday morning at 11:00 a.m., true to tradition, the entire community will gather in the Wabash Chapel for a good, old-fashioned pep rally. You’ll never listen to anyone as impassioned as football coach Chris Creighton during the Monon Bell Chapel hour. The coach is so capable of firing up the crowd it’s simply a shame the game is still 48 hours off.

By noon on Saturday, Crawfordsville’s population will swell by over 10,000, if only for a few hours, when fans from DePauw and Wabash alike pack into Byron P. Hollett Little Giant Stadium for the 113th Monon Bell Classic.

We’re hoping for a big crowd for another, more important reason than just the game.

Students from Wabash and DePauw are again organizing the Co-Motion fund-raiser, which each year harnesses the emotion and energy associated with the Monon Bell rivalry and puts it to good use.

Students have been collecting funds and raising awareness of domestic violence issues. Money they raise through student and faculty challenges, plus donations collected at the game, will be donated to the Montgomery County Family Crisis Shelter and the Julian Center in Indianapolis.

The Sphinx Club, Wabash’s campus spirit organization, has led this year’s effort. As of last Friday, the students had collected close to $1500, getting them half way to their goal. They’ll get a big boost when they shake down students, faculty, and staff heading to Thursday’s pep rally, and donations from a big crowd this Saturday will surely push them over the top.

I find the whole concept quite remarkable. During Bell Week, when testosterone is at an annual threshold, the students of Wabash and DePauw attempt to step back to realize how violence in the home rips families apart and shreds our communities.

Co-Motion is just one small element of Bell Week, but it just might be the most important piece. The fund-raiser lifts up two aspects of the Wabash mission statement: “act responsibly” and “live humanely.” By better understanding the horrors of domestic violence — and raising money to help the shelters —†maybe our students will live up to those lofty ideals; maybe they’ll graduate from Wabash and become good husbands and fathers, and leaders in their communities.

And that’s what the co-motion is all about.

Go Wabash! Win the Bell!

In the photos: Members of Phi Gamma Delta help out at the Family Crisis Shelter early on a Saturday morning.