Aiding the lost
Re: Protest the protest, Oct. 8
To the Editor:
When Erin Schroeder wrote that "[her] heart sank" when she found out that the Homecoming weekend protest concerned the salvation of Orientation Week, I felt my own heart sink. When I read how she thinks that we who are sympathetic towards O-week are pathetic because we are fighting to keep some extra time to party, to get drunk and to have meaningless sex, I became rather angry.
Let me insert an anecdote here. In late summer of 1997, a little, underage boy (let's call him "Khoa") came to Western. A thousand miles from home and moving into Delaware Hall. He had no idea what to expect and his head was stuffed full of the horrifying old "folk tales" he had heard about Frosh Week. Much to his surprise, he found some very helpful people dressed in pink uniforms who aided him in moving and settling in.
Throughout the day, his fear and apprehension about making the "big step" to university disappeared and this thing called "having fun" started to kick in 'round about the time the Travoltas played on UC Hill. Although he was told to keep away from the "scary" purple engineers, he eventually did go to two engineering events later on in the week and had a blast with the "not-quite-so-scary-after-all" engineers. Amazingly enough, all of this happened WITHOUT any meaningless sex and WITHOUT a drop of liquor (although the drummer from the Odds did spray beer on him.)
I realize that O-week isn't for everyone and that's why first-year students are encouraged to come and go as they please and to only participate if they wish although we try our best to show them how much fun it all is. Next year's first-year students will barely have time to kiss their parents good-bye and unpack half a suitcase before they have to go to class the next day.
As a Soph, my heart warms whenever a first-year asks me how one goes about becoming a Soph and when I think about the friendships I see around me that could only have developed because of O-week. There is also definitely something magical about 4,000 people on a hill during closing ceremonies passionately united with the conviction that O-week must not be allowed to die. It has come quite a way in the past few years.
We mustn't be ashamed of it and we must not let a good thing go so easily.