Now that most of the freshmen are already overwhelmed by 300-page readings, biology tests and economics quizzes, it seems like the wonderful days of orientation are long gone. How can we forget Wilson Days, the only days during that week on which we actually had to get up before noon? It seemed like a great way to interrupt our pattern of mandatory meetings by day, fraternity quad by night. Yet for the unfortunate few who were assigned to do seemingly pointless tasks, it was anything but a rewarding experience. The day began with several motivational speeches by Dean of The College William Green and Michael Finney, the president of the Greater Rochester Enterprise. Although I felt “speeched out” – overdosed on speeches, that is – by the end of orientation, this thirty minute session did offer some insight as to what we were going to be doing and the history of this project. Plus, we got a chance to see that we weren’t the only ones suffering from a lack of sleep and morning-look syndrome – described as a condition in which the victim is unrecognizable before several cups of coffee. Leaving Danforth Dining Hall and walking toward the buses, we noticed that four guys from our hall could not handle the pressure of having to work without pay. They stealthily made their way back to their rooms without our D’Lion catching them. Despite having lost half of our work force, we stuck to our task like true warriors. On our way there, we could not help but notice the gigantic houses overpowering the neighborhood. We pulled up to the biggest one of all, George Eastman House. It would have been more appropriate to arrive in a limo, but I guess one has to work with what one has. As we walked through the museum on our way to the basement, our eyes gazed at mahogany floors, high ceilings and antique furniture. This really was a classy place – they definitely did not show a dire need for volunteers. I felt underdressed for the occasion in my “Wilson Day” T-shirt, Adidas shorts and dirty sneakers. To top it all off, we were harassed by the security guard who hollered at us for having an open can of soda in the museum. While other students were playing with underprivileged children or wrapping gifts for the elderly, I was stuck in the basement of George Eastman House giving a brick wall its first layer of paint, and listening to our only connection to the outside world – an FM radio. Although the fumes from the paint did offer a little extra humor in this expressionless and unventilated room, I felt completely useless. The experience as a whole was very unpleasant for my three colleagues and me.Now don’t get me wrong, I strongly support the tradition of volunteer work for the entire freshman class. I just think that it could be applied to other causes instead of sending UR students to perform mundane tasks at self-sufficient institutions that do not appreciate our service. I could have made a better contribution to society by cleaning the men’s bathrooms at Susan B. Anthony Hall. Now there’s a place that could use some serious community service! Fernandez can be reached at

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