Campus is emptying out very quickly for this year's Spring Break. In fact, most people aren't reading this column because they've already left. Students are packing up and escaping the confines of college as quickly as they possibly can, and while they all know where they're going, few know what they're leaving behind.
When we depart to bask in the glory of a Caribbean sun and become our sexual alter egos for one random week in March, we say goodbye to a dreary, yet clean, campus. When we return though, each quad is equally marked by a mountain of discarded plastic cups, heaps of silly-string spray-confetti, toilet-papered trees and an unusually high number of grazing goats.
While this change in aesthetics has been a mystery to the student body for years, I recently used a steel ladle and a dead bunny in a menacing way to coax a source into telling me what he knew. What I found out was that the frathouseitrazation of campus begins the moment we leave.
In a matter of hours, upstanding professors and suppressed registrar employees will flock to the slope and binge drink in celebration of their students' willingness to leave this University for a week. When the students aren't around, the faculty unshackles itself from the red tape, stops trying to suppress the activities that make college an enjoyable, growing experience and springs to life.
They'll strip down to their knickers, someone from the Engineering school will turn on a Nine Inch Nails CD, and the staff will pound back a few Coors 16-ouncers until President Hunter R. Rawlings III appears at the top of the clock tower in boxers, a snorkel and a red cape. The significance and meaning behind this act dates back to the late 70s, when then President Dale Corson proclaimed he was royalty and asked the faculty to refer to him as Emperor Gorfosh for the duration of the break.
The crowd of inebriated scholars will then quiet down, and just before doing a tower-dive into the waiting hands of a bunch of naked-T.A. groupies, Hunter will yell out earnestly, "'Head like a hole/black as your soul/I'd rather die than give you control." Previous to using this lyric, other presidents have yelled, "These boots are made for walking/and that's just what they'll do/and one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you." For a short time in the 80s, President Frank H.T. Rhodes yelled, "There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do/I bless the rains down in Africa." Rawlings adopted the new lyrics in 1997.
After the jump, the dudes from Collegetown Bagels pass around tabs of high grade scallion cream cheese and blueberry bagels. The faculty will then commence with a 72-hour carnival of drunken indulgence. Crates of lemons and canes of sugar will be air-dropped on the slope for a four-hour marathon of body shots.
Following the singing of the body-electric, a slope-volleyball tournament will prove once and for all that the Ag-school's secretaries are the most powerful group on campus -- and a round of full-contact Coke & Pepsi will finally pit the entire staff of the Career Development Office against its age-old, mortal enemy, Belinda, the Trillium card swiper.
On the second day, an "Introduction to Whip-its" workshop takes place in the Statler auditorium.
The workshop is "intended for professors and assistant professors interested in the fundamental knowledge of whip-it history, production techniques, flavor characteristics and whip-its' proper place in society. The participants will gain an understanding of how food is complemented by whip-its and how whip-its should be purchased, stored and served for maximum enjoyment and value. Responsible whipped-cream service and consumption will be emphasized."
Unfortunately, most people who take this don't really pay attention and only sign up for the free balloon they get.
At midnight on the second day, the staff of Cora's wheels out half-a-dozen complimentary kegs and those professors versed in the Gorfosh flame ritual will get pumped up on worm-wood and be allowed to build a bonfire. Some years the staff roasts marshmallows, other years they burn effigies, and this year is supposed to be the year of the sacrificial virgin.
Other activities that the faculty have voted to partake in when no students are watching include a paintball game around the West Campus gothics in a shirts vs. skins capacity and a chicken fight round-robin between the Hotel School T.A.s and the Athletic Department. Both Jell-o and mud make their way into that event every year and for those allergic to the acrylic-based paint balls, a game of Photon Laser tag will take place in that nameless area between Uris Hall and the Campus Store. To officially end the extravaganza, there is a pizza party on North Campus.
By the forth morning of spring break, our lecturers will slowly start to take down their tents. They'll pick up the tattered pieces of their social existence and retreat back to the shadows where they will draft more legislation to keep campus safe, and wait for us students to return.
We've got a full week of break to deal with, and the most any of us have to look forward to is finding a job or internship, downing a yard glass of strawberry daiquiri, and seeing Blade II and Sorority Boys. Once again it seems that the mighty unseen hand of the faculty has us beat, even though we look better in boxers.