On last Tuesday morning, a worn-down red recliner sofa appeared on the steps of Samuel Phillips Hall. On the chair sat a stuffed animal with sunglasses. Some believed it was a teddy bear, while others thought it was a dog. In front of the stuffed animal was a red bowl of Hershey Kisses, according to students who passed by the chair.
Students’ reactions to the sudden appearance of the chair varied. Many students took candy from the bowl or paused to appreciate the setup, regardless of its origin. Other students overlooked the chair in their rush between classes. Solar Lu ’24, a visual artist on campus, immediately stopped and took a picture of the chair when they passed by. The chair inspired Lu, as she connected the chair’s teddy bear to the rigor of student life at Andover.
“To be honest, I was just kind of inspired because I do visual art and I often take a lot of photos of things that I find interesting. So I was like, that’s an interesting context, I think I can make a statement out of that. So that’s why I took a photo… I think stuffed animals, especially a stuffed teddy bear, show the innocence of childhood. And putting it in the middle of Sam Phil, which is very representative of our educational institution, I think that says something about taking away our childhood or that loss of innocence,” said Lu.
While many were impressed by the red chair, students and faculty alike began wondering what group or person placed it there. Gloria Chen ’24 suspected that adults were responsible, as they would have better access to such a large piece of furniture.
“I highly doubt a student put it there, because how did they get a chair, right? How would they get a red chair on the front of Sam Phil? So I think it’s the teachers,” said Chen.
On the other hand, however, some community members believed students were responsible for the placement of the chair. Specifically, after observing the chair’s setup, Sebastian Lemberger ’25 narrowed down those who were responsible to select residents of Foxcroft Hall.
“I am pretty sure that it was put in front of Sam Phil by a Foxcroft boy for two reasons. The first is that whoever put it there would have to lug a sofa in front of Sam Phil, and Foxcroft is the closest dorm to it. The other thing is the second day that the sofa was out there, the dog biscuits on it were labeled ‘for Foxcroft residents.’”
However, Prince LaPaz ’24 offered a contrasting opinion after witnessing the chair’s transportation to a different location. Here, the chair had a new note regarding its stolen stuffed animal. LaPaz suspects a certain secret society to be responsible for the chair’s arrival.
“The next day after the sofa there, they moved it to the top of the steps in front of Sam Phil, and then they had a note on the chair. And it was like ‘whoever took the bear, put out the bear’s name, give it back. That was not very Non Sibi of you.’… [I think it was] the secret society… they call themselves the Candy Shoppe. That’s what they wrote on the sign,” said LaPaz.
Amy Guerra, a Spanish instructor who teaches in Sam Phil, did not know the person or group responsible for the chair’s placement. This said, Guerra believes the chair was an act of kindness with good intentions.
“It’s a group with [a] good imagination, with good ideas and good purpose. I think the group that did that had the intention to make students in the whole body of [Andover] feel great… I realized that someone [placed] this sofa [at Sam Phil] with a purpose to rest, to take a pause; I don’t know, maybe to feel that even though we are in a rush, we can feel something sweet, and that life is good. This is what I felt when I saw the sofa. It’s an invitation for me to take a little break,” said Guerra.