At the end of the school year, when many college newspapers are putting together graduation editions and opinion columns that read more like valentines to their schools, it's refreshing to see the University of Arizona do something a bit different.
In its final edition of the school year, The Arizona Daily Wildcat polled 10 graduating seniors to answer the question "What's the one thing you hate about the UA?"
The responses were vastly different, and kind of fascinating. They ranged from the trivial ("Obnoxious California fashion trends leaking into Arizona," one journalism major responded) to the more serious (a senior majoring in molecular and cellular biology said that she was angry that "the past four years at the UA have been marred by nothing but fiscal crisis," which included $30 million in cuts from the state legislature.)
Other complaints included the lack of a good sushi bar on or near campus ("What a disgrace"), the changing of the ingredients of the iced chai latte at the UA's Student Union Memorial Center ("Life has not been the same since") and unchallenging upper division courses where one's grade was determined by a few multiple choice tests ("I didn't come to college for 'easy' — I came for an education.")
In a small disclaimer at the beginning of the article, the paper notes that graduation is a time "when seniors typically look back on their college years with a sense of fondness. But while that type of nostalgia may make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, that's not what we're here for."
I'm sure that given the opportunity, these students would expound at length on all the things they love about the UA. But these are a lot more fun to read. Apparently UA students think so too, given the numerous comments to the article published on the paper's Web site.
Besides complaining, a tradition among graduating students is the giving of the senior class gift, a token of seniors' sometimes fickle appreciation for their institution of higher learning.
At many schools, the gift is the brainchild of a committee that takes it upon itself to decide what should be given, then calls every single member of the senior class on his or her cell phone at an inconvenient time asking for a donation to the senior class gift fund.
You can imagine how this generates complaints.
At Ohio State University, the 2007 class gift is a 16-foot version of the University seal to be embedded in the Great Hall of the new student union building, The Ohio State Lantern reported this week. The point? So people can walk on it, I guess. Hopefully the materials — stainless steel and pre-cast terrazzo — will be durable enough that the class of 2027 doesn't have to make its gift the retouching of a seal people have been walking all over.
If each graduating senior kicks in $20 and some loose change, the cost of the project will be met, The Lantern reported. What happens if the funds aren't raised was not mentioned.
One OSU student probably espoused the general feeling when he told The Lantern, "Ohio State has taken enough money from me, and [the seal] doesn't benefit me in any way... If I was uber-rich and could afford to be a philanthropist, then sure [I'd give], but I'd have to be very rich."
Describe your end of the school year fantasy. Does it involve swimming in Drumheller? Covering your room in three to four feet of wadded up newspaper so it resembles an inky ball pit? Perhaps kicking back in a beer garden on the HUB lawn? (All of which have been done, by the way.)
How about skiing or snowboarding down a giant pile of snow that's been specially trucked in and plopped in front of your dorm?
That's what'll be happening at the University of Oregon today at the UO Rail Jam, which is expected to draw X-Games silver medalist Sammy Carlson and at least one local professional snowboarder in addition to about 15 UO students, The Oregon Daily Emerald reported.
The competition, which will be deejayed by TV action sports show host Scotty "The Body" Conerly, is the fourth and last to take place on a college campus this year. The event was begun by two students at Oregon State University last year as part of a business class and snowballed. In 2008, organizers hope to take it to more schools, but keep it Northwest-centric.
It would be great to top off the UW college experience by seeing someone barreling down a man-made hill of snow in the parking lot of McCarty Hall on a sunny May afternoon.
Even beats a dip in Drumheller.
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