Become U. legend in 30 days
Hundreds of high school seniors who had been admitted to the University flooded the campus last weekend for open house. In order to get them excited for next year, they were given tours of the facilities, talks, entertainment and a sample of student life that hopefully avoided having them speak to actual University students. As I passed by one group, I was deeply conflicted over whether I should keep to myself or yell "don't do it!" in order to provide them a rounder and more realistic picture of campus life. I kept silent. While doing so, however, I was struck by the image of the young new students marching in to replace the graduating class, myself included.
With that said, this column is an attempt to challenge anyone set to leave this school after next month to take advantage of their remaining days on the Banks — well, sort of. But rather than write a cliché piece about all the things every University student must do before they graduate — let's face it, you do not need me to tell you to attend a football game or eat a Fat Cat sandwich –– I have instead decided to map out a strategy for anyone interested in having their name go in the University history books next to Paul Robeson, Milton Friedman and the guy who got the Fat Darrell sandwich named in his honor.
In order to make this somewhat interesting, and given the fact that I am an economics major, let's begin by making some totally outrageous assumptions that would probably never hold true in real life: Namely, you have an infinite amount of time (for some this might be true), you do not actually need to attend your classes (for liberal arts majors this should definitely be true), you have an insanely unrealistic level of influence at the University (you will see why this is key in a second) and finally, you have very little money to expend to achieve your goal (this one is likely spot on). Given these assumptions, below is a medley of things you can do in your final 30 days to optimize your experience and elevate to the status of legend:
First, in order to avert fading into complete obscurity, you should begin several grassroots movements to fix the most annoying problems that everyday students face. To provide just a few examples:
1) Begin a university-wide hunger strike until guest swipes at the dining hall become unlimited. After all, we pay –– or get shaken down –– for way too much money per meal to not allow us to use them as we please. Also, the dining hall should be penalized for their actions last fall when they did not allow students to use additional takeout meal swipes to feed the homeless. This would then serve the additional purpose of retribution for that shameful act on their part.
2) Start a massive boycott of the various food vendors at student centers until student organizations can use their funding to buy food from outside of the University. This is not a joke. The monopolization of pizza by Gerlanda's has become a case study on the degradation of quality when competition is removed. In other words, there is no reason students should have to choke on rubber dough and "cheese" when six or more extraordinarily higher quality pizza places on Easton Avenue are struggling to compete for the remaining market, one mainly comprised of post-partying students who stumbled out of the nearest bar.
3) Start a table selling coffee for charity in front of Au Bon Pain on College Avenue to undercut their business. Why? Because like Gerlanda's, Au Bon Pain has captured the market for tired students without any serious competition, and in doing so, has thrived on coffee that tastes like something Dunkin Donuts threw out last week. Also, all of the proceeds of your "charity" can go to lobbying to get a Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks or Panera Bread — or anything besides Au Bon Pain for that matter –– to take its place.
But beyond leaving a lasting impression on others, your own personal memories are equally important. Since you probably already have countless pictures on Facebook of you and your close friends in various dark basements with red Solo cups, you should probably take some pictures with the several University characters that have sporadically made the campus an interesting place. More specifically, be sure to take pictures with the Red Bandana Kid, the Unicycle Guy, the Mandolin Guy, DJ Time Traveler, and Ben West.
Getting back to leaving your mark, you should also befriend as many individuals in the Rutgers University Student Assembly as possible. No, it is not that you believe in the importance of student government or even think they do credible work. But rather, it would be nice to get some minor but important University policies put in place — the earlier mentioned changes are far too serious to trust RUSA with. For example, there is a clear need for a rule prohibiting sororities from telling students that by not buying their cupcakes they are allowing children with cancer to die — apparently chemotherapy has gotten really cheap. As the warm weather has approached, most of my expendable income has been guilt-tripped away by misleading statements from girls with letters on their shirts. It needs to stop.
While you're at it, take a moment to write a letter to The Daily Targum. But instead of making it something heartfelt and original, be sure to make it centered on the advocacy of a hardcore liberal cause. Why is this? Other than the fact that few people will actually read it otherwise, it is important that you inspire deep resentment amongst the Targum's most avid readers: Angry conservative alumni with too much time on their hands. After you receive a healthy batch of e-mails and comments from the right-wingers, you will be inspired to continue your mission by the fact that there are people out there who must certainly have less of a life than you, but more likely just no job, which would be particularly ironic if they are collecting welfare.
Having become a left-wing activist, a campus hero and a well-connected student within the last month of your time on the Banks, you can then finally achieve what no one before you has: You can convince the Rutgers University Programming Association that having three mediocre artists at Rutgersfest is not nearly as worthwhile as having one that people would actually be excited to see. Your statue can then go beside Willie "The Silent" and your name will live on forever. Your legend may even be recited by generations to come in a politically correct and gender-neutral version of the alma mater.
Eric Knecht is a Rutgers College senior majoring in economics and history.