It is move-in day and Spencer Ray, sophomore from Evansville, Ind., is fighting the crowd of last-minute shoppers gathering their dorm supplies for the fall semester at Walmart in Murray. He is looking for a speaker to play music in his room.
As he searches for the perfect speaker with the right amount of bump for an awesome level of noise pollution, Ray comes across one small black speaker with 50 hours of battery life. Here’s the best part – the price is not outrageous.
“I can take this anywhere,” Ray said to himself as he picked up the box.
Once Ray found the perfect sound system, he was ready to leave. But he looked to his left to find mobile platforms and dollies for $10.
“Heck yeah,” Ray said. “This is perfect. I’m going to carry it around everywhere.”
This was more than two months ago. But little did Ray know, his simple, yet out-of-the-ordinary idea would spark interest in the student body and have people talking about the mysterious guy rolling a speaker around campus.
A transfer student from Western Kentucky University, Ray began classes at Murray State this fall double-majoring in recreation and youth leadership and nonprofit.
Between classes and his extracurricular involvement in tennis club and Sigma Pi as a new member, Ray finds time to walk around campus playing music for all to hear.
“I wake up every morning and get ready for class,” he said. “I find a playlist (from Pandora) for the day and plug it in as I head to class.”
Ray’s playlist can consist of anything imaginable, from reggae to classic rock and even some boy bands in between. He frequently asks his friends what they want to hear on campus, as well.
The ion speaker is strapped to a small black dolly with pink velcro. The 50 hours of battery life allow Ray to plug in his iPhone, open the Pandora application and play requested genres, songs or specific decades of music.
“I literally like every kind of music,” Ray said. “I can listen to anything, from classical Mozart all the way to Disturbed rock.”
Although he has been playing music on campus since August, Ray waited until mid-September to create the Twitter account @MSUSpeakerGuy to spread the word. He quickly found students on campus had already been talking.
“People have walked up to me on campus every day since I started,” Ray said. “They tell me about how I have made their day. (They told me) how they were having a horrible day, but hearing (songs from) ‘The Lion King’ made it better.”
Ray’s positive feedback does not stop there. Some admire and are inspired by the idea Ray generated.
“I had one girl tweet me,” Ray said. “She said, ‘to the MSU Speaker Guy, whoever you are, I love you. I absolutely love you.’”
Most students have heard Ray blaring music outside while walking across campus, but some have been a part of the action, like a “High School Musical” in college.
“The first time I played in Winslow, I played ‘Shout,’” Ray said. “It was really cool because people started getting up and dancing.”
Not all take kindly to the decibels echoing off classroom walls, however. Ray has been asked to both turn down and turn off his music at certain times, especially in crowded places, such as the Thoroughbred Room and Curris Center.
“An older gentleman asked me to turn the music down,” he said. “I am really polite and I just said ‘yes sir,’ and turned it down. If someone asks me to turn it down, I will turn it down.”
Recently, Ray has had more issues concerning his hobby. He took to his Twitter account to update his followers on his inactivity on campus.
“I am in a pickle,” Ray tweeted on Oct. 4. “I have been told by a professor that if he hears my music one more time he will call the police, said it is invasion of privacy.”
Ray plans to confront the professor and try to talk things out first.
“I?will probably go and apologize and say ‘hey, I didn’t mean to disturb the class’, but I?will turn it down,” Ray said. “I probably won’t turn it off.”
Ray has been without his speaker for two weeks. He has seen a huge reaction in the student body.
“People come up and ask me where the speaker is,” Ray said. “I?just tell them, ‘well, I?got in trouble.’ But I?always tell them not to worry because it will be okay.”
Ray said if the situation escalates and he is forced to turn off the speaker, he will continue looking for more options.
“I’m going to see what I can do,” Ray said. “Maybe I?can set up a table with my speaker and get students to sign a petition.”
Regardless of the few times he has had a negative reaction, Ray still believes for every two people who don’t like his endeavor, there are eight people who do.
“The majority of people like it,” Ray said. “And I do it to brighten someone’s day.”
Story by Hunter Harrell, Assistant Features Editor