Marie Nottelson, a student who took on tattooing as a hobby, tattoos herself in her Kappa dorm. She hosts "tattoo" nights during which she invites students to her room to get tattoos. 

Eckerd College is known for its creative and artistic students. This is translated into the tattoos on campus. Students on campus get all kinds of tattoos from ones with deep meaning to spontaneous, silly ones.

According to a survey taken by 361 students, 67.9% of the student body have tattoos. A lot of students have stated that their tattoos were done here on campus.

“I want to be like a walking sketchbook. Almost where it’s like I doodled this and that won’t come off ,” Phineas Slaton, a sophomore studying film and creative writing, said. They have gotten all their tattoos on campus.

Slaton works for Barnes and Noble and Starbucks on campus, where there are no tattoo policies when it comes to employment. Tattoo policies depend on the location and what they consider “distracting.” At Eckerd, employees are not required to cover up tattoos at work.

Junior Marie Nottleson took on tattooing as a hobby about a year and a half ago. It started as a way for her to get small tattoos without paying a high base fee at a shop. 

Now she has “tattoo nights” where people come and get tattooed in her dorm at Kappa. She does this whenever she feels like tattooing. Since the machine takes some time to set up she uses these nights to do as many tattoos as she can. Her favorite part of tattooing on campus is the unique ideas that people approach her with.

“Just the mindset and the attitude of people changes the game here,” said Nottleson. “It’s the complete opposite of mainstream or bandwagon.”

Sophomore Haylee Murray has a back piece of a vine with all the state flowers of places she’s lived which include six different U.S. states including Alaska, Arizona and Michigan. She has also lived in Greece.

“I think I just like that people are free to express who they want to be and decorate their skin the way they want it to be. For me a lot of my tattoos hold meaning and remind me of who I am and where I came from. So I like the idea that it’s able to be shown on our skin,” Murray said.

Eckerd’s tattoo culture is unique in not only the tattoos students have and how they get them, but also the overall attitude towards tattoos. Students appreciate the originality of tattoos and the imperfections that come with getting tattoos done by growing tattoo artists.

“There’s memories tied to them,” said Slaton. “It’s not about how it’s going to look 20, 40, 50 years in the future. It’s about now and remembering it then.”

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