With the approaching reading period signaling the end of classes and the conclusion of the spring semester, the UR community has a final, highly anticipated event to look forward to Dandelion Day. The aptly named ‘D-Day” incites either exceptional joy or overwhelming terror amongst students, primarily depending on their preference for the overindulgence of distilled beverages. Not short on controversy, the campus-wide celebration continues to be perhaps the most popular day to enjoy festivities on campus year round.

However, one of the popular questions circulating around April 24 is thus: Why on earth are campus tours offered on this day, which is no doubt a very unrealistic representation of campus? With the reversion of campus into a scene reminiscent of ‘Animal House,” surely there is the risk of visiting parents and students being put off by the campus’ interesting choice of Saturday activities. Others say that the Office of Admissions should avoid this and not offer tours at all on Dandelion Day. Indeed, the elephant in the room is a real obstacle to ignore when he’s shotgunning a beer and dancing with a bucket on his head, but perhaps it is not something so heinous that it can’t be overcome. Harnessing the energy on campus and using it to UR’s advantage is more beneficial than just letting families detrimentally confront it themselves.

Perhaps the biggest misconception about D-Day is the structure of the tour schedule itself. Dandelion Day falls during the Office of Admissions’ Spring Open Campus, where the largest volume of prospective students and families come through UR all year with as many as 100 families signed up for a single tour schedule. Not only would these families come whether or not there was a tour offered on that day, but these families would then be exposed to the D-Day atmosphere without anyone trained to tell them just what exactly is happening. By simply stumbling upon D-Day, infinitely more damage would be done to a family’s perception than if they were carefully guided through the experience.

In addition, there are no afternoon tours offered on D-Day, so all of the tours will be given after an information session in the morning, leading to less likely chances that everyone will be celebrating outside at that time. That being said, it’s easier to treat a one-day problem with caution than to safely but continually work with a less vibrant one.

To further illustrate this point, I would ask one to imagine two scenarios. Scenario one: a warm, beautiful day on campus where the sun is shining, grass is growing and birds are singing. But where are all the students? Cut to leading the tour through the library, glimpsing the unhappy, sun-deprived faces of students desperately studying three weeks in advance for that genetics test, and then trying to explain that of course there is a social life on campus, and students don’t resemble minions of the zombie apocalypse all semester.

Now cut to scenario two: The sun is shining, students are playing outside, and the frat quad is overflowing with students all united by the precious elixir of inebriation (that part is indeed left out of the tour). Yes, it is very difficult to explain away a day of campus-wide alcohol use, but it is infinitely more difficult to erase the impression of zombified students mournfully glimpsing the sunshine from closed windows, often draped across couches in the Periodical Reading Room like victims of an invisible but terrifyingly effective war. The illusion of a vibrant social life, not academic misery, is what brings people onto campus.

Information sessions before tours, packets filled with UR’s academic awards and official statistics, more often than not, convince people that we are indeed an academic institution. These numbers can convince families that they’re getting their money’s worth of education, but numbers can’t convince anyone that there’s actually campus life outside of the library. While academic life is very stressed at UR, having a day where everyone relaxes and lets go is equally important to advertise, even if it means leading tour groups past a battlefield of the intoxicated mobs of the student body.

Cicoria is a member of
the class of 2012.
Cicoria is a Meridian.

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