Sunday, January 28, 2007

The War on Student Activities (Part 1)

For years, Fordham students have formed clubs and exclusive groups, no matter how odd the focus may be (basket weaving?). Nevertheless, clubs are necessary to keep Fordham students active, interested, and sober/drunk. Think about it, what would Fordham students do without clubs except get drunk, study, drink, get shitfaced, play beer pong, bar hop, consume alcohol, wet their whistles, drown their troubles, drink, drink vodka, make drinks, mix drinks, think about drinking, drunkenly drink, booze up, knock ‘em back, down some brews, and drink? Seriously, your mind is now boggled by the very thought. Here’s where the plethora of Fordham clubs come into the picture, and the extreme and diverse spectrum of clubs allows for anyone to find that Facebook-group-to-be that best suit’s their interests. For instace, where would Fordham students be without the option of joining a coed a cappella group (b-Sides) or an all female one (Satin Dolls, Ramblers)? There are kids in Ethiopia who would love to be so fortunate to have these kind of options, but we sadly take them for so much freekin’ granted.
Unfortunately, the overseer of all things Fordham clubs seems to be doing its best to restrict them as much as possible. Ladies and gentlemen, I speak of Student Activities, or OSL, which I am not sure stands for anything. Ruling with an iron fist, the fine folks at Student Activities have been working hard to make life as difficult as possible for any and every Fordham club, recently adding deadlines and previously nonexistent two-week windows for booking venues. That’s right, every club must book everything two weeks in advance. Now I’m not sure if they go to the same Fordham that I do, but most of the student body (and faculty) don’t usually know where they’re going to be for lunch at breakfast. Hell, most syllabuses I’ve received in the last few semesters have read “Class 1: Introduction, Class 2-15: Wing It”. It’s simply inconsistent with what the rest of Fordham actually practices.
In short, Student Activities has waged a war on its students. They’re depriving Fordham’s students from the very activities they’re supposed to provide. Now, they’re clearly taking the same “stricter order for the greater good” approach once employed by Hitler, Stalin, and Darth Vader. Unfortunately, for all intents and purposes, the intents and purposes of OSL in their current power trip remains a mystery. Sure, organization is great – but there are ways to achieve it without going all dominatrix on our asses. Yes, there are issues of budget, but even when money is in no way involved, student activities has thrown as many roadblocks as possible down to prevent students from reaching their club’s goals. Maybe it’s not all the clubs, come to think of it. Perhaps they just hate everything I’m in, I don’t know. If so, this article sure as hell ain’t helping.
Anyway, let’s cut right to the chase (he says four paragraphs in): last week I made a gallant attempt to book the Collins Backdoor Theater for a Free Pizza sketch comedy show (shameless plug…seriously though, come see it….shameless plug though, seriously though…). Without even saying a word, an OSL representative handed me a packet of loosely stapled-together papers, the title page of which read “So You Want to Book an Extracurricular Event”. I flipped through to the first page, and received this set of instructions.

Hello, young Fordham Scholar. So, you wish to make some sort of reservation with the great and powerful OSL, do you? Harharharharhar! Silly moral, you may not advertise for your event! No one advertises for their events! Unless of course, they wish to meet the demands of the great and benevolent OSL! But be warned, few who attempt to accomplish the demands of the great and benevolent OSL make it back alive! Harharharharharharhar!
-Event must be booked two weeks in advance.
-Sheet must be filled out and signed by faculty advisor
-Budget must be up to code
-After these three things are taken care of, director of said group must eat an entire Ramvan, piece by piece, and then carry fourteen students to Lincoln Center on his/her back.
-Once at Lincoln Center, director must flash I.D. to desk guard. If he nods once, keep on walking. If he nods twice, then he is a spy and not to be trusted, you are to challenge him to an arm wrestling match. Only if you survive can you then continue your journey.
-Proceed to the Lincoln Center library, located deep within the bowels of the Lincoln Center campus. Once there, seek out a book on origami. From the teachings of this book, build yourself a giant origami swan, and fly it out of the library. Burn the remains of the library, for no one must know where you got that origami swan.
-The swan’s name is Lucius. You must refer to him as such.
-Lucius will fly you to Zeroxana, a remote island in the South Seas that has yet to be discovered by humans. Once there, you must pick the sweet fruit from the Goyog trees, juice it into an open wound, and await the spiritual journey ahead.
-On this spiritual journey, you will meet a man named Jennifer, with a flowing green beard and eye patch. Jennifer will tell you the tale of the Xanqua, an ancient race of robot men who were forced into captivity by the earliest cavemen tribes on earth. That’s right, robots preceded cavemen. Who would have thunk it?
-Jennifer will give you a small ivory box, but on your spiritual journey you will not open this box. -With a snap of his fingers, Jennifer will awaken you from your slumber, and you will still actually be holding the ivory box. It’ll be like one of those dreams where you imagine you found some really cool stuff, like a Gameboy when you were seven, and you wake up and it’s not there and you’re all like “man I wish that dream was real, I could have sworn I owned that!” except this time, you will actually still have it. You must return that ivory box and its contents back to Student Activities.
-Lucius will fly you back to the main land of Manhattan, but at this point he will probably need to be fed. Now you’re probably asking yourself “what do paper swans need to eat, if anything?” My answer to you is – ivory boxes. Now you have a choice to make, young traveler.
-You have wisely chosen not to feed your giant origami swan, but unfortunately that results in Lucius unfolding from exhaustion and landing in the ocean as one giant sheet of construction paper. Fear not however, as a ship will be waiting for you wherever you land. The ship shall be called the S.S. Ess-Ess, and will be helmed by a half-man half-wheelchair named Toronto. Toronto shall feed you and keep you warm, occasionally boring you with his stories of life as a buoy hunter. Regardless, he will drop you off at the isle of Manhattan after about three weeks. Make sure he hasn’t stolen your ivory box – men of the sea are not to be trusted.
-Catch the nearest bus at the South Street Seaport, it should lead you into the financial district, where you can easily hop onto an A train. You should make sure you have enough money left for a metro card.
-Transfer to the D,B, or 1 and get off at 59th Street Columbus Circle, and walk to Lincoln Center. Be sure to lay low, there’ll be a strict investigation about who burned down the library and you will be a prime suspect at this point.
-Successfully vomit up your as-yet-somehow-undigested Ram Van, piece it back together, and drive it back to Rose Hill. Rush hour shall act as your greatest foe, here.
-Come back up to Student Activities, where you shall present us with the ivory box. We shall give it to you to open. Once you open it, you shall see the meaning of life.
You open it, and there’s a mirror. You see your reflection and realize this whole journey was about you, growing and maturing as a person. You respond by angrily shouting expletives and throwing any available office supplies around the room. Yes, I suppose it was all a little bullshit.
-Bring us three copies of whatever poster you’d like approved.
-Congratulations, you’ve reached the halfway point!

At this point I just closed the damn thing and threw it in the nearest trash receptacle. Unfortunately, it seems as though things are only going to get worse, and Fordham students are going to be reminded constantly that if they want to get anything done themselves, they’ve got to fly to a remote undiscovered island on the back of a paper swan only to receive a magic box that doesn’t hold anything of real value. Pointless? Methinks so. OSL seems to be missing the entire point of student activities, which is to encourage students to get out there and do what they enjoy. These new rules do nothing but discourage any student with pie-in-the-sky dreams of extracurricular activities. The more obstacles OSL throws in the way, the less likely students are going to want to go after their goals. It’s simple baby boomer-boomer/MTV generation logic. Thanks anyway, Student Activities, we know you have the best intentions.

(Reads the whole thing to himself before submitting) Geez, I was angry that day.

No comments: