Column: How to stir up Quad Day-Add a competitive aspect

By Andrew Mason

Another year, another Quad Day. Maybe I’m just jaded, but the magic I felt when I was a freshman just isn’t there anymore. Yeah, sure, hundreds of Registered Student Organizations congregating in one place for convenient perusal by the faceless droves is a once-a-year opportunity for everyone to expand their horizons and really “experience” college. Unfortunately, it seems like an all too common phenomenon. It’s time for Quad Day to be shaken up. It’s time for it to truly show off the best this University has to offer. It’s time for Quad Day to become a competition.

Instead of the entire event being a hurried mash-up of chairs, flyers and tables that run together, organizations should be encouraged to work harder to boost their profiles. Think of it like a homecoming float contest, or perhaps a dog show. RSOs could be grouped according to categories, much like they are in the Internet directory. They would vie for awards based on the creativity and enthusiasm of their presentations.

Of course, there would be prize money involved. But while a few hundred bucks to use for that next big event would be nice for the RSO that wins the grand prize, there needs to be something else. Like a trophy.

Imagine a mounted, gleaming four-foot metallic bowl with an intricately detailed Alma Mater at its center. Name it the Quad Cup. It could pass every year to the RSO deemed the “Kings” (or Queens) of the Quad. It could proudly be displayed in a glass case in the Union and taken out to be waved triumphantly in the Homecoming Parade and during finals to lift the spirits of the student body.

But how are they to be judged? Surely such an event would invite shenanigans, corruption and bribery. Thus, a committee appointed by the Chancellor should choose an alumnus, an administrator, a faculty member and a student to administer the competition. The idea of course, is that their identities remain secret until a grand unveiling on Quad Day. Preferably accompanied by fanfare. What’s Dee Brown doing anyway?

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Of course, this idea isn’t perfect. For example, there is probably little good that can come from having an award for “Best Religious-based RSO.” Additionally, someone would have to write a handbook detailing the penalties for the inevitable sabotage that will ensue if this takes off, let alone the logistics. It also runs the risk of progressing from good, clean fun to a cutthroat test of wits and survival.

Sure, it sounds hokey. A bunch of groups toiling year after year to win a prestigious honor that is revered for some unexplainable reason by all who attend here. It sounds like a secondary plot line in every college movie ever made. But think of the upside.

If it gets off the ground, it could become a great University tradition. Imagine the campus uniting for one afternoon to celebrate the beginning of the new year by recognizing the most outstanding student groups. Oh, the pomp. Oh, the circumstance!

In the meantime, though, you might as well go to Quad Day now. Beware, though. If you stray far from the Quad, you just might end up with a brand new platinum MasterCard. Then again, how is that different from any other day?