PRAVDA - Address from the President

Sept. 16, 1996.

Actually, it should probably be called "Amuumuu from the President", but I donít want to get hung up on a technicality. I want to use this section of Pravda to chat about whatís up on campus and give you my two cents. Each issue will have a different topic, and I thought Iíd start us off with one of my favourites, Orientation.

Even though this was my sixth orientation week, I still got an adrenaline rush the first day. It was just like when I was a frosh Ö or was it? Saying the phrase "things sure arenít what they used to be." is one of the clearest indicators that youíre getting older. Well, things sure arenít what they used to be. But are they better or worse? Did the class of 2000 receive a better frosh week experience than my class of 1995? I guess the answer lies in your definition of the word "better".

When looking at the changes to frosh week, there are three imaginary superheros that you have to consider. Iíll refer to them as Captain Legal, SocialPerson, and the Amazing Academic. Captain Legal protects the legal liability of Universities, student councils, students, and regular citizens everywhere. SocialPerson (who used to go by the name of SocialMan until it became politically incorrect) maintains political correctness and social equity for all, while the Amazing Academic is there to promote academics, the pursuit of knowledge and good study habits.

When I was a frosh, I raised more money for Shinerama than anyone else in my group. As a reward, a soph bought me a pitcher of beer at the next pub, even though I was an inexperienced and underage drinker. Nowadays, Captain Legal and SocialPerson would be all over that soph, and wouldnít allow this to happen. Unfortunately, despite what Captain Legal and SocialPerson think, there are a lot of frosh out there who would have preferred the pitcher of beer to the firm handshake and pat on the back they received this year. Which is the better experience?

One of the most vivid memories from my frosh week occurred while standing around the traffic circle. Along with my fellow frosh and sophs I showed Western a full moon and sang a song of questionable demeanor. SocialPerson would have had a heart attack. In fact, if SocialPerson and Captain Legal were around for my frosh week, they would have both committed imaginary suicide. But boy, did I have fun at the traffic circle. Has Captain Legal and SocialPerson ruined all the fun?

People have different views on this topic. The fundamental factor that will determine your opinion is how much faith you place in either Captain Legal or SocialPerson. Most of us intuitively acknowledge that SocialPerson is important, in a motherly nagging sort of way, but whether we practice what we know is right, or to what extent we let SocialPerson influence our lives, is a personal choice. Captain Legal on the other hand, doesnít have the luxury of being intuitive. Captain Legal has to deal with people that may be completely oblivious to his existence and the issues at hand. Other people may know Captain Legal exists, but try to trivialize his existence or just pray that he doesnít cross paths with his arch enemy, Accident Prone.

Let me tell you how I feel about the topic. What ever a group of adults decides to do in their spare time and of their own volition is their own business. If they choose to ignore SocialPerson and Captain Legal in the course of their activities then they may be choosing to be extremely naÔve, but it is their choice, and we can only hope that they stay within the bounds of good taste. But that has nothing to do with frosh week.

Frosh week revolves around the first year student, but itís not the first year student planning the events. Frosh could attend an event completely unaware of what goes on. Thatís why event programmers must treat SocialPerson and Captain Legal with the utmost respect. We donít have to grind all activity to a halt, but the various issues should be considered and reasonable precautions should be taken.

For those cynics who want things the way the used to be, I have a recommendation. Spend frosh week getting aquatinted with the frosh. Become their friends. Thatís what they want, and need. If later on in the year you decide as friends to participate in an activity that others may consider risquť, then that is the decision of two adults who have chosen to throw caution to the wind. But you canít make that decision for them, especially after youíve just met them.

Iíve been keeping the Amazing Academic out of the conversation for a reason. I think her role in your life will be an extremely personal one. Part of your first year experience is defining your unique relationship with the Amazing Academic. And just like you canít tell a four-year-old kid that there is no Santa Claus, you canít tell a frosh to lose faith in the Amazing Academic. For all you know, the frosh is wearing Amazing Academic underoos, has an autographed picture under their pillow, and has the Franklin Mint Amazing Academic chess set. You canít destroy that froshiesí dream. And maybe, if the circumstances are right, you can convince another frosh to dust off the Amazing Academic lunchbox that they had forgotten about. Thatís what frosh week should be about.

So is frosh week better? I think so, and there are three superheros who think so also. Sure, there are some things I miss, but Iím an adult, and I have friends that are adults too.

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