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Swarthmore treats admitted students like royalty

in Columns/Opinions/Satire by

In desperate hopes to lure admitted prospective students into matriculating to Swarthmore, the administration sent out strict orders to the students, faculty, and staff—especially the dining staff—prior to Swatstruck, instructing them to show their best performance and be on their best behavior. Furthermore, the college community was ordered to treat prospective students like royalty.

“We must do whatever we can to bring those students in here,” said Blake Trickton, Dean of Admissions. “I cannot bear having these students turn down our offer of admission and go somewhere else, especially our peer institutions like Williams and Amherst. We really need to get back into the top three in U.S. News rankings, you see, and bringing the best students here can get us back into where we belong. How dare they put us in the same rank as Middlebury and below Wellesley. I don’t know about Middlebury,  but everybody knows that Wellesley literally got into the top three just because of Hillary Clinton.”

Students who were hosting prospective students were specifically instructed to provide them with the service one would receive at a five-star hotel. As part of their training, hosts were required to attend a seven-hour panel and seminar with experts in the hospitality industry. According to Marla Lago, Admissions Officer in charge of hosting, the admissions office wanted to ensure that the prospective students be treated as if they own the room, and the hosts should be the ones giving up anything they can to make the students feel comfortable. Furthermore, hosts were told to give up their beds for the prospective students, and clean up after whatever mess they create.

“This will definitely make the admitted students feel like Swatties are all very nice people who sacrifice everything for the needs of others,” Lago said. “The tables have turned and now it is our turn to beg them to come, instead of them begging us to give them letters of admission. The Class of 2021 will play a huge role in continuing our reputation as a popular, yet selective, liberal arts college.”

After Swatstruck, hosting students reported numerous incidents where they felt, according to the words of Shifu Xerver ’20, “proud and accomplished for being a great host for the students.”

“My spec got drunk and threw up in my room, but never did I ever show any signs of frustration or anger toward him,” Xerver said. “Instead of getting mad, I told him that it was completely fine, and that accidents can happen. And then I spent the next two hours trying to clean up the mess he barfed up out of his stomach, instead of studying for a really important test I had the next day that was 30% of my entire grade. I’m usually not that much of a nice person, but I’m so proud that I was able to maintain my inner- peace instead of exploding at them and abandoning them in the middle of Swatstruck! Can someone give me an award for that?”

Another student, David McNirvana ’19, shared an even greater accomplishment, a move that even earned him extra money from the Admissions Office.

“My spec hooked up with another spec, and he brought her to my room and asked me to leave,” McNirvana said. “The guy had the guts to kick me out of my own room. But I acted like I was completely cool with it even though I had two tests and an essay due the next day. I not only left the room, but I also lent them my bed to let them do their business. If anyone deserves a Best Host award, it’s me.”

According to Trickton, food is always an obstacle that tarnishes Swarthmore’s reputation. Therefore, Trickton ordered the dining hall staff to bring in the Indian Bar, consisting of freshly baked naan and hand-made curry that is only offered during days when there are a lot of visitors.

“We put much more effort to please our future students and persuade them to come here,” said Aglio McPasta, head of dining services. “In addition to having Indian Bar, which is our go-to Swatstruck menu, we also brought in chefs who own Michelin Three Star restaurants to revamp our signature chef’s pasta bar. In order to do this, however, we had to force current students to eat regular pasta bar in a separate dining area, so that prospective students don’t find out the actual truth”

Trickton is hopeful that the event persuades many prospective students to matriculate to Swarthmore.

“I think we did a good job in luring in a bunch of prospective students into coming here,” Trickton said. “Hopefully this will increase our rankings in U.S. News, and get us the third place that we deserve on the list.”


Eight things Specs Should Know before Choosing Swat

in Op-Eds/Opinions by

For all its eccentricities, strengths, and flaws, I really love Swarthmore. It is a quirky, nerdy, beautiful place full of amazing people —some of whom I’ve met already, others whom I’m excited to one day meet. It’s true, Swat is not for everyone: it’s a combination of exquisite niches that will either make you absolutely fall in love with it or hate it. So, I talked a bit with some of my friends here at Swat and compiled a list of things we all wish we knew, or feel like Specs should know, before coming to Swarthmore.

It’s small size can be either one of its greatest strengths or greatest weaknesses. The college’s small size fosters an incredibly close-knit sense of community. Since everyone knows everyone, we all look out for each other, and we see each other everyday! However, this also means that you see all the people you’d rather not see everyday. Being a small campus also means that if you like to have things bustling 24/7, this is not the place for you. That’s not to say Swatties don’t make their own fun. From guitar circles to plays to Lang study breaks (free food!), there is usually always something to do on campus, even if it doesn’t seem like it most of the time.

It’s as much work as people say. It’s true that Swatties are huge nerds. Only a huge nerd would choose to go to a school with so much damn work. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the constant feeling of “it’s study time” for the majority of the day. However, if you really love the work you’re doing, then it’s usually worth it.

Swarthmore’s not perfect, but there’s a large space for activism. As liberal and forward-thinking as people make Swarthmore out to be, this place has some problematic aspects. However, these usually serve to show the resolve and persistence of activism among students on this campus as they stand up against the issues they have with the college and its administration.

Swarthmore will change you. You will discover things about yourself you never knew, some good some bad – some in between. This is an intense environment full of fascinating people. Don’t come expecting to leave the same person you came as.

This campus is on a hill— and you never get used to it.

You’ll sleep everywhere. When you’re only getting a solid 5 hours of sleep per night, you’ll make up for it in creative ways. Not only will you partake in the infamous McCabe nap, but you’ll find yourself falling asleep in an array of unique locations. I’ve probably fallen asleep in almost every academic building on campus (yes, that includes in and out of classes).

It’s not hard to make friends. Seriously, just go for it. Swatties may be notoriously awkward, but that’s part of what takes the pressure off. It’s super easy to grab a meal with someone you don’t really know well, so just ask! Swatties are interesting and friendly people so you shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to meet more of them.

It’s not as radical and weird as it used to be. The Swarthmore I heard of had orgies on Parish Beach and an annual Crunkfest (“A tradition that involved public nudity, hallucinogenic drugs, and public sex all taking place on Swarthmore’s campus” to quote a 2016 article in the Phoenix). However, as the administration has cracked down on various activities the craziness of Swarthmore’s past is less visible on campus. I have hope that with the collective effort of current Swatties and the incoming class of 2021, we can dare to make Swat wild again.

Swatstruck, Swatlight successfully replace Ride the Tide

in Around Campus/News by

Last week, the college hosted hundreds of prospective students for SwatStruck and SwatLight. Formerly Ride the Tide, this annual event offers current high school seniors a sample of life at Swarthmore. The students were given a schedule of classes they can attend and were invited to a variety of social events on campus. The overall purpose is to expose these students to Swarthmore’s typical week days, so that they will be more well-informed when they decide whether to commit.

SwatStruck differs from previous years in that it was preceded by a counterpart, Swatlight, which hosts first generation, minority, and low income students. The duration of the program has also changed, shrinking from two to three days to a single-night stay.

In this period of time, prospective students were given a chance to survey Swarthmore’s academic landscape, and many reported positive experiences.

Ryan Stanton ’20 was impressed by his visit. “The classes I attended stand out as some of my best hours on campus,” Stanton said. Stanton sat in a discussion on black iconography [the class was Black Culture in a “Post-Soul” Era, taught by Professor Anthony Foy] and was fascinated by the materials covered. He said, “the students and professor turned toward a central idea of image – agency in an image’s distribution, which I hadn’t considered before that class.” Subsequently, Stanton visited a neuroscience lab and also attended a lecture in Global Capitalism Since 1920.

Although Stanton enjoyed the classroom experience, he observed that the class in black iconography – which he visited by chance – is not included in the list given to the admitted student. Thus, he expressed the need for a more comprehensive course list. “One suggestion I will make is that the full course catalog, or at least a larger portion of it, be given to the Specs,” he said.

Besides giving prospective students a sense of Swarthmore’s academics, the admissions office, which hosted the event, also worked closely with Office of Student Engagement in order give these students a full range of the Swarthmore experience. The office organized on-campus social activities such as the Night Market, which is a space for on-campus organizations to showcase and interact with prospective students. The admissions office also encouraged personal interaction with current students by hosting Swat Unscripted, an annual event where conversations were carried out between a panel of current students and prospective students in a confidential setting. Prospective students may also visit student-run organizations on their own.

According to Jim Bock, Dean of Admissions, these social events are of tantamount importance to academics. He remarked, “One of the central themes is that choices will have to be made academically and socially, and while we are honest about our rigorous academic program, students also have active lives outside of the classroom.” As such, the balance of academic and social life is supposed to be a main takeaway from the program.

Stanton would agree, as he expresses his excitement in learning Swarthmore students’ involvement in art and journalism. “The Swarthmore Showcase … demonstrated to me the range of art at Swat, from impressive acapella to innovative dance and comedy,” said Stanton.

Overall, like many others, Stanton is very satisfied with his stay at Swarthmore, and expresses his desire to spend more time on campus.

Such sentiment, according to Bock, is a sign that Swarthmore is a good match. “Often students are left wanting to spend more time at each event or to sit in on more classes, and our response is to spend four years with us at Swarthmore.”

Bock also is confident in the progress made by SwatStruck in attracting prospective students, which is the goal of admissions.

“We have seen both attendance and yield increase as students have so many wonderful options and places to visit in April. We look forward to bringing in an amazing Class of 2020.”

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