With three weeks to go until the university throws me out on the street, I find myself without a job or any clue of what I want to do with the rest of my life.

Before I start selling surplus apples outside of Douglass, however, I probably should examine my time at UR and see if I actually learned anything.

The problem with these farewell columns is that they either are warm and fuzzy whitewashes or filled with bitter cynicism. In general, the truth is more complex and requires serious reflection to isolate it from the surrounding noise.

And after some soul-searching, I think that I&ve discovered the essence of what made college at UR meaningful for me.

The key lies within the relationship between the UR community and the individuals of that community.

It seems conventional wisdom that in order to have a real community, a university must have school spirit in the form of varsity sports championships, well-attended football games and strong traditions. All we have to do to reinvigorate UR, the logic goes, is to reach back in history and recover all those things that the current apathetic generation lacks.

If this were true, however, all of us would have ditched UR and transferred to Duke after our freshman years.

But we stayed because a community is more than sports and interclass rivalries. It&s not that those things can&t be a part of a lively community, it just means that there&s something deeper to its formation.

We stayed not only because UR gave us the opportunity to get a good education in the classroom, but also because we took advantage of the opportunity to have meaningful interactions with our fellow community members outside of class.

All of these caring individuals 8212; whether those who live down the hall, serve UR through on-campus organizations or share their scholarship in class 8212; add their own gifts, energies and talents to the UR community. And together, they make it much greater than the sum of its parts.

They are people like the Rev. Brian Cool, UR&s Catholic chaplain who doomed himself to arthritic joints trying to tackle people half his age so that the Newman Community could field enough players for an intramural football team.

They are people like Professor of Religion Curt Cadorette, who every summer shows students where he used to live and work as a missionary in Peru, so that they can understand problems and issues in the Third World from a whole new standpoint. They are people like senior Leah Siepel, who has fought tirelessly for sweatshop workers who she feels the UR community has ignored.

But before this column gets too warm and fuzzy, I have one deep misgiving about my UR experience.

Individuals enrich UR through their contributions, but should always remember that the good of the community as a whole must supersede any personal vision of its future, no matter how grand that vision is.

And that brings me to my frustration of the last four years. I don&t have anything personal against Professor of Political Science Gerald Gamm or Dean of The College William Green. They are intelligent men, excellent scholars and gifted teachers. They also have a grand vision for the future of this community, at which they have arrived through years of work in the Residential College Commission.

But it seems that in their single-minded drive to implement that vision they have confused the vitality of the community with their desire to remake it in their own image.

There is nothing inherently wrong with freshman housing. However, in trying to &revive& school spirit through reinvigorating class rivalry, Gamm and Green have at times crassly dismissed other elements that underpin life at UR 8212; like special interest housing and the myriad of personal interclass friendships developed through common living.

I don&t condemn these men for their hard work or their ideas.

However, their self-centered shortsightedness and arrogance 8212; whether intentional or not 8212; risks damaging the underlying structure that has made UR a comfortable and stimulating home for me for the last four years.

If every individual who attempts to add something to UR remembers that warning, this place will remain a dynamic home to all its members in the years to come.



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Recording shows University statement inaccurate about Gaza encampment meeting

The Campus Times obtained a recording of the April 24 meeting between Gaza solidarity encampment protesters and administrators. A look inside the discussions.

The Clothesline Project gives a voice to the unheard

The Clothesline Project was started in 1990 when founder Carol Chichetto hung a clothesline with 31 shirts designed by survivors of domestic abuse, rape, and childhood sexual assault.