For four years (or five, if we count all those Take-5 and 3-2 kids), the class of 2007 has endured many changes at UR, and a number of awful UR puns. I have only been around to experience two years of this, and as a rising junior I’m looking forward to another two years of it.

Looking back through old Campus Times archives, I searched for any articles that might deserve a retrospective look or, at least, an honorable mention. In the 2003-2004 school year alone, I found a good baker’s dozen of stories – or fourteen, if you include a fascinating story on a student who was savagely attacked by a raccoon.

Damn raccoons!

Take, for example, the Dining Plan overhaul, which the class of 2007 got to experience before anyone else. The beloved “club” was introduced and declining was revised. Fantastic! Well, not really. The first CT of the year ran with the headline “Meal Plans evoke student confusion and complaints.” Well, good thing Dining cleared all that up. Today, students just love meal plans, and can find no fault with them.

Fun fact: Douglass Dining Center switched over to an “all you can eat” cafeteria for lunch. The plan didn’t even last a year.

The class of 2007 also has grown up with the construction of the Goergen BME/Optics building. The plan had been announced the previous year, but this graduating class got to see it from the beginning of construction in October 2004 until the end, just in time to leave and never use it. Nor will they be around to watch in amusement as very confused freshmen think they have class in the gym.

Fun fact: The Goergen BME/Optics building is the first new building at UR in 20 years.

The class of 2007 was also the last year to have a fall freshman rush. Future freshmen got the message and stayed away from Greeks completely until the spring of their first year. The seniors, however, are corrupted, twisted people for not having done so, obviously.

Fun fact: Greeks are awesome.

UR made the jump into the digital age with the arrival of the class of 2007, as they were one of the first classes to get to do course registration online.

Fun fact: Lest you believe this to be a 2003 retrospective, don’t worry – we’re moving along.

The seniors were also there for the resurrection of URTV, and, as such, were – okay, fairly unaffected.

Fun fact: URTV’s latest Hour of Power is amazing.

The seniors also are the last ones who will remember the infamous Affirmative Action Bake Sale, hosted by the College Republicans. If you don’t know what it was, well, think what “affirmative action” means, think then think what “Republican” means, and you’re good. The bake sale electrified campus and the Political Science department. 35 professors sent signatures of protest to then-President Thomas Jackson demanding something be done, but Jackson declined.

Fun fact: That was the last protest to cause genuine controversy. Hopefully someone took a picture.

There was also a lot of talk about patents. The CT wrote several articles on the big patent lawsuit that etc., etc. etc. (I’m pretty sure only the administration, researchers and anyone who took PSC238: Business & Politics cared).

Oh, and in December 2004, Joel Seligman’s appointment to UR President was announced.

By the way, seniors, remember in your freshman year when the “Dirty Dozen” were thrown out of Susan B. Anthony Residence Hall (it got major headline treatment in the January 2004 CT)? The group of freshmen whom the Dean of Students Office determined (without much consideration) to be self-destructive, and in need of intervention, got relocated in one massive strike to the ResQuad. It was the largest such disciplinary occurrence in school history.

“Much time has passed and the 12 are still friends, we study and play together, under the guise of being “college students,” senior and member of the Dirty Dozen Gabriel Malseptic said when I asked him about it. “However, we’ve been secretly planning our Sue B. takeback. We’ll be equipped with fire hazards and illicit substances to maximize university penal destruction.” Joking aside, though, Malseptic admits the move was necessary, but not for disciplinary measures. Instead, he learned about a completely different sphere of campus life known as the ResQuad, and he’s a better person for it.

In other retrospective news, there was also a planned $18 million renovation of Anderson and Wilder Towers. This was to go toward electrical and fire alarm maintenance, maybe turning the center doubles into super-singles with a bathroom each, putting laundry facilities on every floor, and other such lofty yet intriguing ideas.

Fun Fact: Most of it didn’t happen, the fire alarms go off every other Friday and there’s still asbestos lining the connecting tunnel.

Over the course of 2004, Simon School moved up in national rankings and our crack security forces captured the Theta Chi ham thief. Louis Farrakhan made a satellite presentation to campus, inciting major controversy with his whole, you know, hatred of Caucasians and Jews. Also, the Students’ Association Senate went to great lengths to try to prove they weren’t useless, even thinking about posting attendance records of senators in Rush Rhees so their constituents knew they were actually there.

To clarify, 2004 wasn’t all bad since, in 2005, nothing happened.

But the real changes came in this school year, 2006-2007, because the increasing emphasis of the school, the focus of this University’s administration, all relies on one thing: Strategic Planning. The seniors got to be here for the beginning of it, to be sure, and have gotten their say. The gears are in motion. The new initiatives – the college town, “RiverView Apartments” (God, please change that name – no one wants to live in a home for senior citizens), and everything else, will define not only the Seligman administration (and ergo Seligman’s eligibility to get a cool self-portrait hung in Rush Rhees), but also marks a fitting jumping-off point for the class of 2007. Because our graduating seniors are leaving in the same vein they came in on: change.

These seniors came into an overhaul of medium-weight policies. They were here for the end of the steady-as-she-goes Jackson era, and the beginning of the full throttle Seligman era. They were there for the controversies, the bake sales, and the hot dog eating contests (not quite as controversial). They were here for a fairly full-fledged D-Day that really meant something, instead of the shallow wreck of a holiday the University has turned it into. They were even here when the Students’ Association Senate/Alex Pearlman decided to turn student government into a worthwhile organization.

This class has seen an immense amount of change. They are intelligent, driven, and have a lot to offer, and want to offer it, to those who will listen. I’m thankful and lucky I got to know as many of them as I have. And with that, congratulations to you, class of 2007.

Oh, and they never caught the raccoon.Brenneman is a member of the class of 2009.

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