Article: Meet Elon’s unique ‘brick guy’

To most students, the Elon bricks are legendary. You trip over them on a regular basis; some may even have one as a souvenir. To Travis White, the Elon bricks are his expertise.

 “Students look at it as walks, but essentially its roads,” White continued. Everything from students to cushmen, trucks, and forklifts crosses the brick every day, making the paths settle and become uneven. That’s when students trip and find loose bricks.

“I’ve never seen anybody take a brick,” said White, Elon’s on-staff brick mason. “West girls are the worst. At the end of the year we go through there and all the brick are door stops.”

The highest area of missing brick: McEwen patio and the diagonal from Belk Library. McEwen patio is the hardest area to replace the brick as well.

According to White the patio is made up of ‘cut pieces’ which are custom fitted to make different sized brick fit together. If a cut brick is missing, it has to be custom cut back at Physical Plant. Though missing bricks are more than just a cosmetic issue, they are a safety issue.

“I cringe whenever I see the girls in heels,” White said.

“I try to make a complete round of the campus that’s walked the most,” White explained. And he’s usually done by 8 a.m.

White says student traffic has changed dramatically with both the Koury Business Center and the Colonnades opening in the past year. The paths by McMichael and past Financial Planning have had much heavier traffic.

Students are not completely oblivious to White’s roll on campus. .

“They did a test on me one time,” White explained. Students took bricks from random places across campus, “under tables, in corners,” he continued. “They were trying to see how quick I could get ‘em back.”

An avid Yankees fan, White worked for Heath Masonry in Greensboro for 35 years before joining Elon. He can even tell when someone has turned a brick over upside down.

“If you turn [a brick] over it won’t look the same,” White said. Students typically do this with the name bricks in front of Moseley. “Why you would want a brick with someone else’s name on it,” White said.

Some of the oldest walks on campus still exist, including the path from Mooney to Hook, Brannock and Barney. Original walks lie underneath the current ones. The walks in front of West dorm, the walk from Mooney to Carlton, and from Alamance past Carolina and Smith all have original brick underneath the current walk.

In the end, “it’s just a need that we have,” said White. “Sometimes I check on Friday afternoon before I leave if it’s a big weekend” to make sure there are no missing bricks. That’s dedication.

Read this article as it appeared in The Pendulum, Elon University’s student newspaper.

Leave a Reply