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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

BSU or BS?

Published: April 7, 2006
Section: Opinions

For one week a year, Brandeis attempts to be the ideal place for the incoming college student. Spring Open House brings a flurry of activity known as Bronstein Week in order to try and convince many students to attend our university. New grass (although ironically massive amounts of snow made this a moot point), cleaner dorms and loud music are all trademarks of Bronstein week, while the calendar is chalk full of events. The thing I dont understand about this years Bronstein Week is the strange selection of the theme Bronstein State University.

An e-mail that was sent to the entire student body from Student Events earlier this week really bothered me for a few reasons. The e-mail proclaimed, BSU: Bronstein State University. How do you BSU? Put on some BLUE and WHITE, get pumped up, and show your SCHOOL SPIRIT for Bronstein 2006: BSU! I realize that it is Student Events job to get everyone excited, but the way that Bronstein Week is being advertised leads to several questions.

First of all, why are we being equated to a state university? I certainly did not pay forty grand (give or take) to attend a state university. How in any way is Brandeis University, a private university of three thousand undergrads, like a state school? Do Student Events and the administration really think that they can pass us off as one? This almost gives me the impression that there is a consensus to pass Brandeis off as a normal college, a generic state university. Frankly, I chose Brandeis for the very reason that it was not a massive state school. Maybe Im just missing the irony of it all.

Secondly, there is less than a month left of school and Im now being told to show your SCHOOL SPIRIT. Where was this school spirit the rest of the year? Were in the week before finals period and now were just starting to talk about school spirit?

One thing that worries me is that prospective students may not see the irony in many of these events. Prospective students will see signs reading Free food, tons of fun, and drink specials–a raging party, the BSU way! or Dont forget to BYO Blanket while Brandeis students including myself will laugh in amusement. Finally, one event even equates us with Animal House, which is laughable, declaring: Dance the night away in Levin, Ancient Roman stylesthink Animal House! I found it highly amusing to see signs up in Usdan featuring Greek lettering while we live on a campus that strictly prohibits Greek organizations due to their exclusivity. Or how about listening to jock jams in a normally deserted campus as I walk to my 9 a.m. class? I also found it incredibly ironic that I received a foam football in my mailbox when Brandeis does not even have a football team. Are all of these raging party references actually going to be taken seriously by prospective students?

The real Brandeis has many positive attributes some of which attracted me to it when I was a pre-frosh. A number of people enjoy the fact that many Brandeis parties might be smaller, intimate gatherings of close friends;

at Brandeis, students are not just a number. While Brandeis may not have the school spirit that comes with Division I sports teams, our schools strong academic program surely makes up for it.

My worry is if prospective students step back and say, Wait…so if thats not Brandeis then what happens here? If this is in fact our Bronstein State University then what is our Brandeis Private University? If Student Events and the administration want the right students to attend for the right reasons, Bronstein week should be about showcasing our strengths, not about indulging our ill-conceived fantasies.