Repairs are currently underway for “Youth Triumphant,” the fountain in front of Doheny Memorial Library that was damaged during the senior fountain run that took place Thursday, May 1.
The fountain run is an annual tradition during which graduating seniors attempt to run to all of the campus’ 30 fountains.
George Huber, maintenance manager for USC Facilities Management Services, said in a statement to the Daily Trojan that the estimated damage from the event is in the thousands of dollars.
“As of now work to the fountain is ongoing, therefore final costs for the [Youth Triumphant] repairs are yet to be determined,” Huber said. “However, in consideration of the damage observed, we estimate the total cost to be at least $20,000.”
Huber said that Griswold Conservation Associates is being contracted to repair the damage to the “Youth Triumphant,” also known as the Prentiss Memorial Fountain. “Youth Triumphant,” however, wasn’t the only thing damaged during the annual senior tradition.
“In addition to damages to the Prentiss Fountain, many other campus fountains had minor damage following this year’s Fountain Run,” Huber said. “Also, several campus planters needed to be re-planted, and extensive cleanup of the university’s fountains and grounds was necessary.”
The Prentiss Memorial Fountain was donated to USC in 1935 by Mr. and Mrs. Carman-Ryles in memory of their son, Edward L. Prentiss. The fountain is known as “Youth Triumphant” and “The Four Cornerstones of American Democracy” with kneeling figures on the fountain representing home, school, community and church. Because of Commencement, certain repairs to the fountain had to be prioritized.
“The repair to the Prentiss Fountain is multi-phase,” he said. “First, we quickly moved into temporarily mending the bronze figurine in order to have it intact for Commencement. We are now working on permanent repairs; several broken concrete features will need to be formed and re-attached.”
Students disapproved of damage to the fountain, but felt the administration should be understanding as well.
“I’m a proponent of the fountain run in general, but there’s a fine line that must be respected by both students and administrators,” said Daniel Depew, a senior majoring in astronautical engineering. “Permanent damage caused by the seniors this year obviously crosses that line, and it’s a shame to think that their actions might jeopardize a fun tradition for future classes. At the same time, I think administration — despite their dislike of the tradition — should be more open with students about how to enjoy fountain run more safely and respectfully.”
Others said that the damage was most likely the work of a few perpetrators and not representative of the spirit of the event.
“I think it is very unfortunate and distasteful that someone would be so absent minded as to harm such a notable landmark on our campus,” said Tyler Ringer, a graduating senior majoring in critical studies. “But I don’t believe it should be considered an accurate representation of the majority of seniors who seek simply to celebrate by going into the fountains.”
Huber said that FMS will be working with the Department of Public Safety and campus administration to create a plan going forward.
“The preservation of university assets is a priority for Facilities Management Services,” Huber said. “Ultimately, we plan to work with DPS and the Safety Office to follow the directives of the university’s administration.”
DPS Deputy Chief David Carlisle said any changes to the allowance of the annual fountain run is in the hands of the Student Affairs office.
“There’ll certainly be discussions about how to handle the situation next year,” Carlisle said. “I would think decisions about the future of the fountain run will be made by senior administrators.”
Vice Provost for Student Affairs, Dr. Ainsley Carry could not be reached for a comment at the time the Daily Trojan went to press.