May 6, 2005

Slope Day Slump

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Ah, Slope Day. Rumor has it that it all started with one man, a dog, a couch and a six-pack on the Slope. In theory, it can bring tears to my eyes: a day to relax, sit back and enjoy your friends and memories over a couple of drinks. If only that was the case.

Today, Cornellians will be celebrating our university’s commitment to “freedom with responsibility” by corralling ourselves into a couple of acres that have been fenced off with some hideous puke-orange fencing. How fitting. Apparently, we lost our freedom when, on a yearly basis, we demonstrated our inability to act responsibly and encouraged scores of our peers to have a good time by dry-heaving for hours on the floor of Gannett.

Yet, the University feels that there should at least be one day a year where they try to make us happy — it is probably in their attempt to get money from us in the not too distant future. So the administration allows our inebriated carcasses to cascade out onto the Slope for one last hurrah before finals start. Once there, the vast majority of us will imbibe to excess while reveling in the wanton lyrics of a known misogynist — lyrics that most of us would decry while sober yet get down with the minute a couple of Keystone Lights are in our system. A lot of people will claim that the Slope Day is the one thing — not hockey, not the weather, not the hills — that can finally bring all Cornellians together on this vast and diverse campus. But should we believe these claims?

Astute observers will notice the vast amount of self-segregation that will take place on the Slope today. Fraternities and sororities, fresh from their champagne brunches and proudly boasting their not-so-pun-y t-shirts will continue their debauchery on one corner of the Slope; those more “multi-culturally inclined” will be up on Ho Plaza engaging in their step-dances; the rest of us will mingle about in various states of drunkenness wondering out loud where the year went.

During freshman year, many of us are subjected to the forces of Residential Development and Community Development see to it that they try to force their doctrine of “multiculturalism” down our throats. The thought is that the more we learn and appreciate about people of other cultures the more we will be able to develop a “campus community” of inclusiveness. Yet, unsurprisingly, they largely fail at this task. “Community development?” More like “Community impediment.”

Most of us have been self-segregating ourselves before we even got here. Yet, at some point today, we are bound to look up during our drunken glee and take in the mass of 15,000 people and see the Cornell we know and love for the first time. How appropriate — Cornellians will do their greatest amount of bonding while explicitly not doing the things that “Community Development” suggests.

In the coming weeks, I think that a lot of seniors (myself included) will be engaged in a lot of melodrama-inducing nostalgia. We’ll put on our rose-colored lenses and reminisce about younger, more na