Built as a gift of the class of 1905, the Crow’s Nest at Brenau over time has resembled a tree house and a free-standing deck. The class of 1905 started the tradition of the structure as a symbol of students’ rise through the academic ranks and only seniors are allowed on top of the deck. In a ceremony during the annual class reunion weekend each spring, soon-to-graduate students escort members of the junior class to their elevated status.
Tuesday, students celebrated the dedication of the latest version of the “Crow’s Nest” at Brenau University.
Since the original wooden deck was built much like a tree house as a gift for the class of 1905, the Crow’s Nest has been a visible fixture on the Brenau Campus. Tradition at the university’s Women’s College dictates only seniors are allowed on top of the deck.
During the annual class reunion weekend each spring, soon-to-graduate students escort members of the junior class to their elevated status in the Crow’s Nest.
The original Crow’s Nest was built around the base of a large oak tree near the northern edge of the front lawn of the Women’s College campus. After lightning struck the oak tree, the Crow’s Nest was relocated and has been uprooted several times for various reasons.
Brenau President Ed Schrader said he saw an opportunity to rebuild a more functional and safer nest structure at a site close to the original location.
“When your daughters come to Brenau, they can use the same Crow’s Nest,” he told the group of students gathered around the nest for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Brenau senior Jessica Hill, president of the class of 2009, presided over the dedication. She also lead her classmates to the top of the new structure.
“Today’s celebration is a special blend. It allows us to bring in the future and relish the past,” she told her classmates. “The structure may change, but the tradition will remain strong in our hearts.”
As Hill and other seniors mounted the new nest, Charmaine Gilmore was among the group of Brenau juniors who knelt down on the steps of the nest to sing a traditional farewell song to the seniors.
Gilmore, a legal studies major, said she’s looking forward to the day when she, too, gets to climb the steps of the new Crow’s Nest.
“It’s to show that we have matriculated through Brenau and we’re at the top, we’re at our peak,” she said.