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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

PEPOSE: Brandeis has the social life, what we lack is a P.R. firm

Published: March 4, 2005
Section: Opinions

Im going to start this article with a disclaimer: I really do like Brandeis. I think it is a great school, better than a lot of people give it credit for.

Now thats about it for the butt-kissing. Let me tell you a little about me: I am not a cheerleader. I am not rah rah, sis boom bah about anything. I am the outspoken critic;

I am the distinguished opposition. I am, more likely than not, any ingrained officials worst nightmare.

And you know what? I do it for us. I think Brandeis is an amazing school, but I think it could be better. I think theres so much potential we could unlock here, and not necessarily with petty cash: policy changes, changes within the institution itself, are what makes the lifeblood of Brandeis keep pumping. We are fortunate to not go to the Harvards or the Holyokes or any of the other self-important institutes of pretentiousness, and heres the reason why: were a new school. We are in a position to change this place, and change it for the betterwe are afforded a flexibility, an opportunity to grow that the older, more established schools are too ingrained, too stubborn, too set in their ways to even consider!

That being said, its on with the critique.

As I was walking up to my Philosophy course Monday morning, I heard something I generally didnt hear on my way to class. Music? I was confused. This campus doesnt do music, no, it would ruin the whole ghost-town image we have as we shuffle aimlessly to class. But as I came closer and closer to those jagged, mountainous Rabb steps, that it was indeed Kelly Clarkson booming across campus. Waiting with fliers in hand was the Vagina Club, pushing their yearly Vagina Fest to anybody who would listenand with women flashing hot pink fliers with condoms taped to the back, there were plenty of people listening. I thought, huh. Thats a really good idea. I considered patting the Vagina Club on the back, but then I realized that being the case, I wouldnt have known where my hand would have been.

Flashback a week and a half: Im eating dinner at Usdanmy typical soft taco armadawhen suddenly, a giraffe appeared. Nay, it wasnt a giraffe, but one of the numerous tall, gangly, awkward-looking people on campus (of which we have many at Brandeis) dressed as a giraffe! As little bits of bean and cheese dribbled from my slackened jaw, I realized that Bad Grammer was performing an impromptu dance party in the middle of the dining hall. And you know how I felt?

I actually felt good.

I watched Bad Grammer break-dance and shake it until they said their performance time and quickly dispersed, and Im not ashamed to say by that time, my taco was a dribbling, inedible mess. I didnt care about a faux burrito at a time like this! I was watching campus organizations at their finest, making themselves known and putting themselves forward while at the same time making Brandeis as a whole a more interesting, fun, and colorful placeeven if it was only for a minute. At this point youre probably wondering where the criticism is, so I guess Ill just have to give it to you: I want more.

You see, we go to a campus that is disconnected. Not from the internet, or cable, or even reality (despite numerous examples to the contrary), but from the pulse of this campus. Brandeis simply does not advertise well, from the Dean of Admissions all the way down to the campus organizations. Remember the Student Unions Concerned About Campus Life discussion?

Didnt think so I was one of only three students there not affiliated with a newspaper.
And the problem is that I cant even say it was your fault: it just happened to be really, really, REALLY badly spun. An e-mail from some random guy you dont even know, only a few hours away on the exact day that that event was supposed to occur that is not the way to get people to attend. We go to a campus that hands us spam, only instead of it being wrapped in a can, it is wrapped in a frustrating, non-comprehensive e-mail system: you cant filter it, you cant manage it, you can only sit and cry yourself to sleep while seeing messages like, If its Thursday, something must be happening at the Stein. We focus our personal appearances not in Sherman, not in Usdan, not anywhere with crowds, but instead at coffeehouses at Chums, where I can say just from my experience with the Brandeis Players One-Acts alone cant possibly fit the number of people any group would want at their functions!

Our advertising snafus arent simply electronic or in person, but on paper as well: we put blank white sheets of paper flat on tables, and expect people to use them as something other than placemats. We hide entire walls behind hundreds and hundreds of fliers, so numerous that we dont even know when theyve changed fliers! And we really dont care. Thats what I want to fix: I want our campus to be connected, to know whats going on, to give both our dedicated organizations the audiences they are due, and to make available for our students the sort of well-rounded, diverse, and satisfying activities that we should not have to always go to Harvard Square for!

So are you still wondering what to do? Instead of putting your papers flat on the Usdan tables, use colored paper, print several copies per sheet, and bend them up so they stand up for everyone to see! Instead of covering the walls with meaningless fliers, make them more colorful, make them more concise, put them up strategically! Instead of sending us junk e-mail, send it to us in advance, and give us a name and your position, and a title that makes us want to open it! Hell, send me an e-mail that makes me want to care! I promise youI promise youthat if you do this, you will see improvement: you will see more audiences, you will attract more group membersyou will be loved, make friends, and have babies! Perhaps the last part is not so true, but our school is disconnected, and it will only continue to get worse if we dont work our spin now.

And to those who disagree? Well, youre reading me now, youve heard my ideas, and are at this very second proving my point positiveyoure just one less person to connect with. And that, my friends, is your very first Kick to the Deis.