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Freshman Shows Her Stripes With Campus Landmark Refurbishing

Three times is a charm — except when it came to the recent repainting of the Zebra Path, the striped geometric walkway that links the Academic Mall with the northern sections of campus beyond John S. Toll Drive.

Zebra PathIn recent months the much-used footpath had begun to lose its luster. Due to the drive and dedication of freshman Gabrielle Khalife, it was finally repainted. The weather just wouldn’t cooperate during the spring semester, and on three occasions the repainting had to be postponed.

That was when school was in session and dozens of students had pledged to lend their services to restore the famous Stony Brook landmark to its former glory.

But on June 19, when classes were no longer in session, the sun shone brightly and Gabrielle was able to see her vision to completion. In just two days she had rounded up eight other students armed with rollers and paintbrushes, aided by a setup taping crew from Campus Operations and Maintenance.

Gabrielle’s path to refurbish the popular passageway began while she was on another quest. “I was with my friend who was searching for a cover photo for the Scholar’s Newsletter, “The Torch,” she said. “I remember looking out the window of the Chemistry Learning Center and seeing a beautiful sunset and the recently built Frey Hall, and watching students and faculty walking on the path. I thought that this would be the perfect cover if only the black and white design of the path weren’t faded. Then it dawned on me that it would be fun if students came together as a community to get the job done.”

Gabrielle said she wanted to lend a hand with campus renovations but she realized she couldn’t afford to help out with large projects. “I knew I could contribute on a smaller scale, such as painting the path. Sometimes it’s the little things that make the difference.”

Any student-based effort to make campus improvements needs presidential approval, so Gabrielle wrote directly to President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, who referred her to Dean of Students Jerrold Stein. The two began coordinating the project in February.

“This project really tested my will,” said Gabrielle. “I’m happy that I never allowed giving up to be an option and grateful that I had such wonderful support all the way through. Everyone showed great commitment and school pride from the beginning.”

In addition to Gabrielle, the student restoration crew consisted of Aprille Abuan, Steven Adelson, Nida Kuruvilla, Ellie Massa, Madeline Massa, Robert Presser, Bryan Szeglin and Nathalie Zavala.

The Zebra Path was originally painted by alumna Kim Hardiman in March 1981 as part of an advanced seminar in public art. The path was last repainted in May 2010 by former student Rian Shah and his team.

By Glenn Jochum; photos by John Griffin


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