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Extendi the Giraffe helps speed up campus construction. Illustration by Eva Lycette (She/Her) / Mass Media Staff.

After concerning delayed construction progress, UMass Boston administrators have contacted Hitachi Zoo. 

Extensive renovations on the quad require students to move along the perimeter of the construction zone to get from the residence halls to the rest of campus. As they dash frantically to class, they dream of speeding through the middle of the worksite. Instead, they get trapped in the mass of students moving from University Hall to Campus Center and get sidetracked by the ring lady or candy from somebody tabling, arriving ten minutes late to class.

Bobby was doing his weekly laps around campus when he stumbled upon Milly Vanillymentally a super senior, actually a sophomorestanding on the temporary plastic walk path in front of the Healey Library and gazing through the metal fence. Vanilly stopped to look at the big pile of dirt that always made him late for his Calculus II class. 

He didn’t understand what they were moving all this dirt around for. “This has been going on ever since I started here, you know? Have you seen the huge water sprinkler? What’s that for? It just dumps water on dead dirt. I don’t get it.”

Bobby pondered the question before shrugging it off. “I don’t know man…I just like when it sprinkles water over me; it makes me feel like a soupy Beacon.” 

They were referring to the past deployment from Hitachi Zoo, Sprinky, an elephant that specialized in blasting water out of its massive trunk. Construction managers had deployed Sprinky to keep the dirt moist and clean the equipment. Some speculate that, at times, they asked Sprinky to sprinkle water on the students to distract them from all the construction delays. Apparently, the plan was backfiring, as it reminded the student body of the unlikeliness that they'll see the quad construction completed.

During March, school administrators were determined to bring the quad to students before next winter. That’s when they called for real backup.

March 21, Extendi the Giraffe first arrived at Columbia Point. Extendi is a specialized giraffe who can stretch her neck up to twenty times the size of her body. Extendi arrived in her contracted form, hardly larger than a regular truck. Upon seeing her, Vanilly shook his head, “Another machine to move the dirt.” Feeling challenged, Extendi began to stretch higher and higher until she was three times the size of McCormack. 

Bobby felt enthralled. “Imagine being such a long Beacon. I could see all the way to Springfield!”

Some mornings Extendi would be in the middle of construction or poking her head out from behind McCormack. Construction managers deployed her to move infrastructure around the site, but she also had long breaks. When she was bored, she watched as students ran from one end of campus to the other. 

One day she decided to help them. She grabbed the kids standing by the residence halls and swung them to Wheatley. They would just hold onto her neck and in one motion…POOF! They arrived at class on time.  

Vanilly tried to go up to the top floor of the residence halls to swing on Extendi’s neck, but his UMass Boston ID didn’t work. Another reminder that freshman year was behind him. “AHHH! I’m getting old,” he screamed as he angrily slammed against the broken back entrance to the East Residence Hall.  

He marched in front of Extendi and started screaming: “I don’t get it! I don’t get it! They bring these new machines and say the quad will all be done before summer, but the warmth starts to come and the quad remains undone!  WHY!?” 

Extendi gazed down annoyed and contracted to his level. “You appear to be unsatisfied with the quad construction. Do you feel no gratitude?” 

Vanilly stared into the eyes of the long-necked animal, surprised that it was able to speak. “I mean…I’m glad it’s getting done but it’s just…it’s just taking a really long time. They said it was gonna be done by the summer!”

Extendi squinted menacingly at him: “All things in time. You are lucky this construction is happening at all. Did you know that this project has been in the works since 2009?” 

“S—! 2009? That’s like, before Macklemore!” Vanilly proclaimed in shock. 

“Wu? Like, 'The Heist?' Yeah, that was 2012 so, like, eleven years ago,” noted Extendi. 

Vanilly began to panic, “Eleven years ago? I really am old! How did all this time slip past me? Where did it all go?” 

Extendi took a moment to reflect before responding with sage-like wisdom: “Yes, everything passes. When you are in the thick of it, you feel like it will never end. But when you reach the end, you wonder where that time has gone. That is the way of things.”

A single tear fell from Vanilly’s eye. He looked up at Extendi, realizing the true merit of her words. “I’m just always late to calculus and I’m sick of giving my money to the ring lady! Please, Extendi, can you give me a swing?”

Extendi raised an eyebrow skeptically: “Well, after you insulted my work, I’m not so inclined to swing you anywhere. However, I understand it must be difficult. I can’t help you with the ring ladyyou’re gonna have to walk outside the campus center or something. For calculus, I suppose I can give you a lift.” 

Extendi bent her great neck downward, allowing Vanilly to climb on board. She rose up, casting a glorious shadow over the dorms as her long neck extended, growing even longer. At a break-neck speed, she swung Vanilly to Wheatley, dropping him at the front doors. She winked at him as he scampered inside to class. She rose up to her full height, peering over the dirt mounds and mud piles of the quad construction zone. She closed her eyes, letting the soft ocean breeze blow through her mane. She whispered to herself, “All things in time.” 

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