Friday, September 12, 2014

It's Not About Fraternities Anymore

I don't spend a lot of time on Eagle Row.  I'm not in a fraternity anymore.  In fact, I'm not even at Emory this semester.  That being said, what's happening on campus right now is nauseating.  As our academic ranking continues to fall, apparently the quality of life must diminish as well.  The fraternity houses and sorority lodges are now subject to daily walkthroughs--an invasion of privacy that fundamentally undermines the opportunity for individual exploration and growth that college is supposed to embody.

Fraternities haze.  And drink.  We get it.  Whether it's in the house on Eagle Row or in some basement of a house 3 blocks off campus, it happens.  For once, let's stop talking about why fraternities are bad, and take a moment to remember why they are so instrumental in the social atmosphere that sets the tone of a college campus.

Traditionally, fraternity row has been a place where students can go to blow off steam.  We didn't get into Emory by neglecting our schoolwork, and the office of Greek life never fails to remind us that the Greek population has a higher average GPA than the rest of the student body.  College students party.  They drink.  But more importantly, they socialize; they meet new, interesting, like-minded, and diverse people.  $60,000 a year is supposed to cover a lot more than 8 semesters of classes.  If that's all I wanted I would've gone to public school in Maryland and saved my parents a small fortune.

This new policy is supposed to promote the safety and comfort of the students living on Eagle Row.  Yet, once again, all the school is doing is to mold the hollow image that it presents to the public.  The fact of the matter is that Emory is more than a ranking.  It's more than an average SAT score.  It's more than a highly touted dining hall, and exceptional job placement after graduation.  What the university has seemingly forgotten, is that it is made up of students.  We are real people who want to be proud of our school and enjoy our time there, not just graduate and move on.

In the end, walking through fraternity houses doesn't encourage students to drink more responsibly, it just encourages them to drink elsewhere.  Eagle Row has transformed from a social melting pot where students develop lifelong relationships, to a desolate wasteland where nobody wants to be.  I came to Emory because I thought it was a school for intelligent people who also liked to have a good time.  I'm not sure if I believe that anymore.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Blooming (Part 2)

I don't consider myself an expert in music by any stretch of the imagination but my former classmate from the Park School, Jordan Williams, recorded this track that's been getting a lot of publicity.  He's come a long way since I first saw him perform at Goldsoundz. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, September 8, 2014

That Time We Went To Barcelona On A Whim

            It’s Friday afternoon and I’m online looking at basketball tickets.  The FIBA championship is being held in Madrid, and I figure I might as well try to go to a game.  I click on team USA and see that they’re playing in Barcelona the next day.  10 hours later I’m sitting on a train, en route to the coast.
            We arrive in the morning with plenty of time to caffeinate, eat lunch, and prepare for the 4 o’clock game.  The contest itself was pretty anticlimactic, but it was nice to see USA route the Mexican team, led by sharpshooting Stephen Curry.  He finished with 20 points, and the red, white, and blue emerged with the
victory relatively unscathed.
            Fast forward to 3:30 AM.  We’ve been at Opium (the club not the drug) a little longer than I would’ve liked.  What can I say?  Fancy nightclubs aren’t really my scene.  We’re minding our own business, waiting for the girls to reemerge from the bathroom, when a line of giants files through the crowd.  I do a double take.  That was Steph Curry!  Before I could react they had made their way to the VIP section, but for a brief moment, I was celebrating the win in Barcelona with the entire USA basketball team.  I turned to Brian, saying, “Next time I’ll buy them a drink,” but who was I kidding, there probably isn’t going to be a next time.  It isn’t very often that I run into professional athletes, let alone the entire American squad.

            After two good meals and a walking tour the following day, we made our way back to the train station for an overnight ride back to Madrid.  Despite flooding on the tracks, a three-hour delay, and an emergency change of trains in Zaragoza, we made it back to the apartment by 8 AM.  I had just enough time to shower, eat breakfast, and walk over to school for International Marking class at 9.  What did you do this weekend?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Sonnet About Spain

Everyone else makes blogs when they're abroad.  I already have one.  So here's a poem:

I came to Spain I cannot tell you why
Perhaps the language that I learned to speak
Another year in Georgia I’d have died
My Tolerance for Maggie’s has grown weak
I smile at las chicas at the club
Just glad to be in such a different place
Cerveza flows from taps at every pub
Pobreza is with alcohol erased
I’ll go to Munich and to Amsterdam
Although a tourist I am really not
Oktoberfest makes you into a man
I heard the Red Light District flows with pot
Madrid will be my humble home this fall

If you’re in Spain please do give me a call