‘Seniors, we honor thee’ with construction of new Crow’s Nest

The new Crow's Nest, built out of polycarbonate resin, has a wood look and metal spires.
The new Crow's Nest as of May 2023.

Brenau University rebuilt the Crow’s Nest on the front lawn, a campus landmark and an important part of Women’s College tradition since 1905, in time for Class Day in April.

Jon Michaud, facilities and maintenance manager for Brenau University with Aramark, said crews replaced the wooden structure with polycarbonate composite.

“It should be pretty close in fit, form and function,” he said of the design. “For the railing, we’re not using what you’d see on most decks. We’re going to go more high-end with some metal railing for the posts between.”

Celebrating classes on the Crow’s Nest

Brenau tradition states that only seniors may climb to the top. Juniors may stand on the cement platform, sophomores on the first step and freshmen are not allowed on the structure; the campus superstition is that any student who climbs past their rank risks bad luck academically. 

Each Class Day, which is held during Alumni Reunion Weekend, students ascend the Crow’s Nest as the next class. Senior students wear ivy crowns and their graduation robes, and become alumni as they robe and crown a rising senior, who has ascended to the top for the first time.

“The Crow’s Nest is just a big part of our May Day celebration, which is when we do Class Day and all of the different class years move up a level,” Rebecca Graves, a senior theater major, said. “I’m really excited because I’m moving into my senior year. So I’m finally going to be ‘crowned and gowned’ and make it to the top of the Crow’s Nest.” 

Supporting a lasting tradition

The Crow’s Nest was a gift from the class of 1905. The treehouse-like structure was built around a large tree on the front lawn, and moved several times as the tree it was built around died, or the wooden structure itself had to be rebuilt. In spring 2009, the Crow’s Nest was built as a standalone structure in its current location on the front lawn, next to the modern Women’s College arch. At the base of the Crow’s Nest are a granite marker with The Brenau Ideal, a bench from the class of 1994, a brick walkway and greenery. 

Michaud acknowledged the structure’s significance to students, and wants to ensure it is as long-lasting as the tradition.

The wooden Crow's Nest structure before renovation in March 2023. It stands on the front lawn, near Pearce Auditorium.
The Crow’s Nest, March 2023, just before it was renovated. This version of the Crow’s Nest was built in 2009.

He added that facilities has a plan to repair, replace or preserve all decking on campus every five years.

“It’s not just the Crow’s Nest, though it is very visible and steeped with tradition. It’s anything around Brenau,” Michaud said.

The polycarbonate composite has already passed the test at the Delta Delta Delta Diamond Jubilee gazebo in Sorority Circle. Michaud said the material that replaced the wood decking more than three years ago has withstood the elements.

“It provides the strength, as well as lasting a long time,” Michaud said. “So it keeps its look and doesn’t really degrade.”

Michaud said facilities is taking care to preserve the history, traditions and culture at Brenau campuses through the buildings and landmarks.