The walls that surround us at Fleming College all have something in common: the letter X. It’s a strong architectural shape, with its arms and legs reaching out firmly from that strong core that holds it all together. Here within these walls, we find the X in its natural habitat, acting as both a symbol and a support for classrooms, hallways, walls, and more. 

Mathematicians use ‘X’ to stand in for an unknown quantity. In that sense, it seems mysterious, maybe even dangerous. What’s more, X gets a bad rap in our everyday language: we talk about our former selves as “ex”, we talk about our former partners as “exes” and we may even warn you about what you’re about to watch with an X-rating. But considering how ubiquitous the X is all around us, it’s hard not to feel like it may not be as mysterious, dangerous, or negative as we think. 

Content With No ConteXt

Educational content on a whiteboard is shaped like an X.
X-ceptionally strange symbols forming a secret code?

On a regular day, we can stroll through Fleming College and find whiteboards filled with lesson content for students; this particular X was found in a classroom where I am not a student! Is it a religious symbol calling out to enshrine the greatness of the ‘X’? Maybe instead it’s blueprints for a spaceship. Who knows? (I bet the X knows…) 


Perhaps it’s not an X at all. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, and nothing paranormal, like a bureaucratic dead end at the tail end of an episode of the X-Files.


A side view of an outlet shows it's held together with an X shaped cap.
X marks the spot for free power.

Along with the pumping spirt of Fleming students, of course, our school runs on electricity! In the GDV studio alone we need to run over 30 computers at a time. It’s nice sometimes to unplug from the studio and find a quiet place to work on campus. Here we find the ever-rare hallway outlet — you can identify it easily from above by its “X” shaped markings. When you see that, you know it’s a perfect spot to finish a paper, email your prof, or check in on the GDV 2020 blog!

But Beware…

With free power comes great responsibility. While you are able to use the outlets located in the hallways, you’ll want to stay fleet-footed and flexible, lest you trip up and raise the ire of other students trying to get to their classes.

Xtra Special

Support beams at Fleming are X shaped and display a mission statement.
Anything but X-traneous, this X is supporting us all.

In the grand hallway of the D-wing, we see a truly majestic ‘X’ is doing its very best to provide support to a tall wall with the tensile strength of its ligature. What’s more, this particular X has been gifted with badges of honour: the vision and missions statements of Fleming College. What a proud X this is, holding itself high for all students to see. 

And Yet…

Does this X ever get a break? As I walk away from it, I try not to think too much about how lonely it might get here at night, doing its tremendously hard job alone.

An Excess Of X

Looking through a window at intersecting lines which create an X.
A little bit extra.

The tall and airy staircases of Fleming provide great opportunities to get a view of the green space that surrounds the campus. I was having a look out the window when lo and behold a herd of wild Xs crossed my path! I saw Xs created by the frames that hold the large panes of the ‘all glass stairway’ in B-wing, framed by the window of a door that leads to this magical spot on campus. And then, even more ‘Xs’ that hold the frame of the window in place, so that I can see out onto this snowy campus (made of X’s) without getting cold!

Heads Up…

You too may come across a herd of wild Xs. If you do, I suggest you approach cautiously and don’t make any sudden movements.

All In All, Another X In The Wall

Wooden wall panels create an X where they intersect.
Behind every great wall is an X in plain sight.

The walls of Fleming, a literally made of Xs. The college uses a plethora of industrial and organic materials to build, and here we see these beautiful wooden panels adding a warm, modern feel to the halls. The X is used once again to hold these panels together in harmony. The strength of the X is found in its ability to blend into this design in a way that feels as natural as the wood grain. 

Not To Belabour the Point…

If you haven’t gained an appreciation for X by now, you probably never will. And truthfully, that’s okay. X doesn’t need your appreciation, or even your respect. It has too much work to do to get caught up in drama.

A gif of different patterned Xs.

I made a GIF dedicated to the great X!

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