125 Anniversary events should be more inclusive for students

Published by adviser, Author: Jonathan Janasik - Commentary, Date: April 10, 2014

This week I received an email from the office of the president telling me to fill out a survey. This is in itself is nothing surprising, if there’s one thing that I’ve learned from the constant bombardment of school related emails on RockMail, it’s that the office of the president has what some may consider to be a survey fetish. What struck me as odd about this one is that it said “Students have helped shape the future of Slippery Rock University throughout its 125-year history. Now it is your opportunity to do the same.” It’s worded in such a way that it sounds like our sole contribution to our university’s expansive history is filling in dots on this one questionnaire.

I’m all for celebrating the anniversaries of things. Last year I celebrated Nintendo’s “Year of Luigi” which consisted of playing lots of Super Mario Bros. in honor of the green-hat wearing plumber existing for 30 years. It was fun, so needless to say I understand the appeal of a good anniversary. The problem I have with SRU’s 125 anniversary is that it is nothing like the “Year of Luigi”. Specifically, the Year of Luigi was all inclusive. I’ll give you a list of everyone I remember celebrating it with: my mum, my papa, my brother, my one friend, Mario, Peach, Toad, Yoshi, Bowser, Daisy, Wario, Waluigi, Birdo, Boo, Koopa Troopa, and Donkey Kong. There are probably more people that I’m forgetting. The point is that there was something for everyone.

On the other hand, although I’m apparently invited to join in celebration of Slippery Rock, I don’t really feel like I’m a part of the anniversary festivities. I’ve gone to two events so far, including the opening ceremony. A few members of the administration gave speeches about how great the university is while communication majors who were desperate for news stories took notes. The other events on the celebration calendar just seem to be the same events that happen every year, like community trash pickups, sports events and the arts festival.

At least that was what I thought before I saw an event that Greek Life was holding the week after spring break. They were planning to try to break the world record of the most people spooning at one time, from what I’ve heard you could pay money in an auction to prime spooning positioning next to President Norton or other members of the administration. Now, it’s always a test of strength going home from break while full of raging hormones. All the people that you usually spend time with are hours away, and the images on the computer monitor never seem to satisfy the need to be social like a human companion can. So, at the very least the timing of such an embracive event was perfect.

This is the point of my column where we have to begin speaking like adults.

Spooning is a little bit suggestive in nature. It’s something that’s usually reserved for Saturday nights with your special friend, after you know… the intimate time you spend together watching a Netflix marathon of My Cat From Hell. Something as racy as that should not be mixed with something as serious as the school’s administration. I mean, we’re already in Western Pennsylvania; we get a bad reputation for saying words like “yins”. What are the cool universities like Penn State and Carnegie Mellon going to think when they hear that our president spent three hours spooning with students on the freezing cold ground?

I know what some of you are thinking. You’re saying “good golly, this spooning session wasn’t designed to be a scandalous affair.” To that I would reply, that you are completely wrong.

Check the subtext. The poster clearly said “Greek Life” on it. I’m college educated, and I’ve taken a philosophy class. If Plato’s taught me anything, it’s that wealth does not bring about excellence but excellence brings about wealth and all other private and public goods for men. On a more relevant note, he also taught me that Greeks really love wine, parties, and eroticism. Obviously, if Greeks make a suggestion, you should interpret it in the dirtiest way possible.

Obviously this could be pushed too far in a few different ways. I could compare the exchange of money for a mildly sexual act as prostitution, or I could say that a large group of people partaking in the same mildly sexual act is similar to what is defined as an orgy. That just seems like I would be reaching for the lowest hanging fruit. I refuse to sink to such a level of immaturity.

The event was canceled without a word explaining what went awry. The saddest part is nobody talked about it at all. Not the Rocket, not Greek Life, not SRU PR, and even the Rocket’s Parody doppelganger on Twitter, “THE Fake ROCKET” missed its opportunity to tell its first real joke.

If I haven’t made my point clear, I think that the campus spooning was a silly idea. But I liked it because it was something that students could get involved with and would potentially lead to ridiculous stories. Imagine how popular you would be at parties when you tell everyone how you spent $50 to spoon President Norton. With that in mind, I think there’s room for improvement. A good anniversary event should celebrate both the past and the present.

So I came up with a way that we can make this 125 anniversary thing work.

SRU held a founder’s day picnic, in which family members of the original SRU graduates all had lunch together. We should invite those families back and spoon with them. The union between the past and present would be enjoyed by everyone, and would be recorded in the history books. The Guinness Book of World Records, to be exact.

With an event so monumental, the SRU 130 anniversary celebration is going to have big metaphorical shoes to fill.


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