The funny thing about traditions is the magic required to maintain them. At UR, just as at every university, our traditions change slightly each year as new people bring their creativity to the mix, thus helping traditions evolve through the years.
And like everything else at this university, no matter how much advertising, planning and strategy is involved, maintaining a tradition requires word-of-mouth reinforcement. People tell each other what they are doing, why they are doing it and why it?s important, selling other students in a much more effective way than any simple flier or banner can.
Occasionally that system must break down, however. It certainly seems as if someone didn?t give underclassmen a heads-up about the joys of the Boar?s Head Dinner, for example. This year there were more than 175 tickets available after the first two sale dates, which rarely occurs because waiting in line for tickets has been as much a tradition in past years as going to the dinner itself. But the Class of 2001 was aware of the event ? the maximum number of tickets was sold during the seniors-only sale however.
So where were the freshmen? Maybe they had a test the next day. More likely they didn?t know that missing the best meal of the year means they?ll never have a complete set of four Boar?s Head mugs.
And that?s just the challenge that faces the Freshman Housing Implementation Committee. The group already has its work cut out for it to figure out how to house all of the Class of 2005 on the Residential Quad to foster class unity. By eliminating one of the chief environments for upperclassmen to interact with underclassmen the committee is challenged to find a way to encourage individual class spirit and not lose the unity of a greater university community.
But the committee hasn?t made these decisions yet, and time is running out before the newest crop of freshmen will be landing on the university?s doorstep. Nothing at UR ever happens fast, but the committee must begin to make some choices so that the essence of university traditions do not change ? or we should expect our lives to change dramatically.