Charleston Rocks brought to Buzzard by Sigma Rho Epsilon

Bailey Flesner, Contributing Writer

Colorful, hand-painted rocks can be found all over the community because of “Charleston Rocks.”

This new activity was brought to Buzzard Thursday evening by Sigma Rho Epsilon, when people came to the building to paint rocks supplied by the organization.

Emily Fitzpatrick, a junior early childhood education major and member of Sigma Rho Epsilon said people find the rocks and then post them on the “Charleston Rocks” Facebook page.

“(People) re-hide (the rocks) for you,” she said. “Going to the Facebook page is also a good way to get ideas of where to hide your rock or possibly even find one.”

Sigma Rho Epsilon is an honors special education fraternity. This is the first time they have hosted a “Charleston Rocks” event.

“The people painting the rocks are encouraged to put uplifting quotes on them, or a link to a website,” Fitzpatrick said. “We are just really trying to get special education awareness out in Charleston. It is a good way to communicate with people in the Mattoon and Charleston area, as well as Eastern about special education.”

People of all ages can participate in “Charleston Rocks.”

Rocks can be found all over the Charleston and Mattoon area, but this is not the only place in the country that participates in painted rocks events.

Special education professor Stephanie Woodley, the faculty adviser for Sigma Rho Epsilon, said her family went to Florida for spring break last year and they also did a painted rock activity.

“I had never heard of it. My mother-in-law saved an article the local paper wrote about it to give it to me so we could look for rocks around where we staying,” Woodley said.

Woodley said Charleston Rocks is meant to bring the campus community and Charleston and Mattoon communities together.

“I think it is mostly just to put a smile on someone’s face, it’s kind of like a little scavenger hunt for everyone,” Fitzpatrick said. “When you find one it makes you feel a part of the whole thing. I know someone who found a rock at Wal-mart the other day and took a picture of it on the shelf, posted it to the Facebook and hid it again for someone else.”

Fitzpatrick said everyone with an Eastern email was notified of the rock-painting event.

“Turn out was a lot higher than we expected, so we are really happy about that,” she said.

Sigma Rho Epsilon hosts new member projects for new members every semester and decided to go with this event to unify all of the education majors.

“We try to change it up every semester, but if this continues to be a highly popular thing we could see ourselves hosting something like this again,” she said.

Michael Gordon, a freshman psychology major said he heard about the event from a friend who majors in special education.

“I would definitely go again,” Gordon said. “I had heard about ‘Charleston Rocks’ before but I didn’t know exactly what it was until I came to this event. It was a really good time.”