For the average hungry student, the Pit in Wilson Commons may seem to be nothing more than a place to get a mouth-watering wrap or a slice of pizza. Consequently, many students never make an effort to get to know the people who serve them. Oftentimes, the man or woman who wraps our sandwich can seem as taken for granted as the food we Club.
But, anyone who’s actually taken the time to hold a conversation with Pit workers should find that there’s a whole lot more than what meets the eye – there are tales from the streets of Rochester and the bricked corridors of the Pit. In ’90s ‘Tales from the Crypts’ fashion, hello, Boils and Ghouls, there are plenty of tales from the Pit.
Mitchell Scott of Rochester has been working at the Pit for the past 12 years. He wasn’t full-time until four years ago. But, there’s more to Mitchell than grilled chicken wraps from ‘Blimpie.’ Scott has a unique story both in and outside of the Pit.
Before working for UR, Scott grew up on the westside of Jefferson Avenue. For Rochester natives, Jefferson Avenue is known as one of the rougher parts of the city. From the 1980s to mid 90s, a Rochester gang called ‘the G-Boyz’ were actively terrorizing the streets. But, the gang eventually faded into the dark as the new millennium approached. Scott claims that greed eventually made the gang implode on itself.
‘That’s the problem with Rochester,’ Scott said. ‘There’s a crab mentality. You don’t want to see no man do better than the next. They’ll turn if they have to, so you won’t do better than them. Everyone just wants more money.’
He added that most of the gang members are either dead or incarcerated at this point.’
While some young inner city residents fell prey to the potential earnings and street credibility from joining the gang, Scott found his own outlet at an early age: hip-hop. At the young age of 12, Scott started making rap beats for his cousins.
‘I always wanted to pursue music, to escape,’ he said. ‘I started getting serious when I was 15 [years old]. I played some beats at the back of my cousins shop, and he said ‘dang, we got to use that.’ They started rapping and we got something started.’
Since then, Scott has started his own record label, Destiny Entertainment, and signed several Rhythm & Blues artists and a few rappers. Some of his rappers are currently undergraduates at UR.
Scott continues to push to achieve his goal of making it in the industry his ‘own way.’ Scott argued that most in the rap industry that are from Rochester never actually made it in Rochester. Instead, he claims, they went to New York City or took a trip to the south. But, Scott says he wants to stay true to the old Genesee and make it in his hometown.
When he isn’t working on developing his artist, Scott plays the drums for several Sunday church services. On occasions he ends his Sunday’s work by playing at UR Christian Fellowship’s 3 p.m. service at the Interfaith Chapel. From there, he starts another day, another world, at the Pit.
Just as Scott’s upbringing and tales from Rochester are intriguing, there’s an entirely second world and environment that he works in. Over the years, Scott has seen students expelled for stealing, coworkers lose their cool, students yelling ‘respect my order,’ when a topping was mixed up and other scenes. While some of those things may seem outrageous or moderate, depending on the reader, Scott explained that Wilson Commons has never been more of a scene than his first Dandelion Day in 1997.
When he was working the cash register, he described Wilson Commons as being filled with D-Day stricken students.
Whatever that may imply, students were making several orders, leaving the area, then returning to make the same order, over and over. Some students argued with the employees, insisting that they never placed their order, or that they were still waiting on their food.
Later on, several male students offered employees alcohol that they were unable to finish.
But that was all moderate compared to the activities that some students were partaking in the restrooms. Consequently, the University responded quickly and has since banned students who have had a couple of drinks on D-Day from entering the Pit.
Since then, nothing has ceased to amaze Scott. His calm demeanor and mellow swagger says it all.
Between his home life, professional aspirations and tales from the Pit, there’s clearly a lot more to Scott than what some hungry students at the Pit see. However, his uniqueness can be readily shared with those who dare to converse. And his coworkers are no less unique.
Nathaniel is a member of the class of 2011.