Friendship Set in Stone

Take a walk around Campus Partners’ newly opened University Square at 15TH+HIGH, and you might notice a subtle but inspiring new art installation that reflects the diversity of both the university and nearby neighborhoods.

The word friendship is a prominent feature in Carmen Ohio, the university’s alma mater, which was composed more than a century ago. The line, “How firm thy friendship, o-hi-o” is the final line of the first verse, and singing it is a tradition for Buckeyes.

“It’s probably one of the most recognized alma maters and that’s a testament to our large alumni base,” said Keith Myers, CEO of Campus Partners and vice president of Planning, Architecture and Real Estate at Ohio State. “University Square is a gathering place where the university and area neighborhoods come together, and this installation signals that everyone is welcome here.”

This art installation not only displays that important line from Ohio State’s alma mater, but it also displays the translation of the word friendship into 141 languages, including sign language and braille, that are known to be spoken at Ohio State.

“Translating the English word friendship into 141 languages spoken at Ohio State embraces inclusion and pays homage to the variety of cultures that make our campus unique,” said Amanda Hoffsis, president of Campus Partners.

Campus Partners, working with its Landscape Architect for the project, MKSK, began to develop the idea in 2017.  Then Campus Partners enlisted the help of the Center for Languages, Literatures and Cultures, who worked endless hours to identify the languages and correctly translate the word friendship.

Campus Partners, MKSK and the Center for Languages Literatures and Cultures has invested years of hard work and thoughtfulness into the project. 

Not only does the new square have educational benefits, but also gives students, area residents, faculty, and staff a much-needed outdoor location to socialize.

“This is an opportunity to recognize everyone’s commonalities,” said Matt Hansen, Senior Planner with Campus Partners.

Matt and the Campus Partners team are currently working with the Center for Languages, Literatures and Cultures to develop a mobile app that will help pedestrians and visitors to the square identify and learn about the languages inlaid into the stones.

For more project information, you can visit Campus Partners.

To learn more about how the College of Arts and Sciences played a role in this project, read more.