It’s the dawn of yet another Alive! Orientation weekend, and senior Jose Vega has locked himself in his room in Global Scholars. He’s done this every year during orientation after nearly getting trampled as a freshman by a pack of students eager to see Martin Stadium.
He looks down from his window at the hordes of lanyard-toting high schoolers and their orbital parents.
“Even from the top floor of Vogel, I can’t see the Cougar statue,” Vega says. “There’s too many people taking selfies with it. The closer you get, the less you can see.”
The situation doesn’t look much better on Southside. Freshman Anatolia Freeman stands in the bleak gray morning outside Southside Cafe, gaunt expression set on the line of overenthusiastic parents attempting to shove their way into the building.
Freeman says it’s been like this all weekend, and she fears the situation won’t die down as tour groups keep arriving.
“I haven’t eaten in days,” she says. “On the plus side, this is really helping me save my RDA. On the downside, I’m starving.”
Hiding in his office in the administration building, Alive! Assistant Coordinator Leonard Bentley claims he never meant for the program to be this successful. When he first designed it, he said he chose to stretch it out over several weekends so as not to flood the campus all at once.
However, once that backfired, he tried to come up with other solutions to limit the number of people who decide to tour.
“We actually have all this weird and disturbing art around campus to deter visitors,” Bentley says. “You know, like the white statue with the flickering floor lights over on Hillside, or the creepy animal-zombie shrine thing by Wegner Hall.”
Bentley thought that, by highlighting some of these bizarre features on the tours, parents and prospective students would be deterred from staying the full time and wouldn’t suggest the orientation to others in the future.
“But it just doesn’t seem to work,” Bentley says. “Every year we have more and more visitors. It’s a nightmare.”
He recommends hunkering down, like Vega, and stockpiling food before the groups arrive.