Lawrence University doesn’t suck. In fact, I would argue that the average student at LU is smarter than the average student in any other college in Wisconsin. True, one could argue that UW-Madison has more of a reputation nationwide, but that school also has a problem with letting in complete morons as long as they’ll boost their football team. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but there is a direct correlation between the mediocrity of a college’s football team and the strength of its academics, and the Vikes have never been good. Be that as it may, there are still programs and institutions that are an integral part of the Lawrence Experience which, well, kind of suck. None of these things suck to a degree that I’d ever unlazy myself enough to do something about it. But it is still palpable enough that it bears mentioning, even if it’s in the form of a list featuring a few glib remarks about each item. Here is the aforementioned list: Diversity requirements – In any literature published by a college’s admissions office, the word “diversity” will come up at some point and be discussed in the most generalized, generic way possible. I like to think of the diversity requirements as an extension of that. The only thing a physics major will gain from taking urban anthropology and world prehistory in London, for example, will be two “S” listed on his/her academic record, the ability to graduate, and perhaps a hint of resentment. No reasonable person could argue that taking two mandatory classes that the professor was kind enough to register as promoting diversity will actually gain any real degree of cultural understanding. Such a nebulous requirement does nothing; hence, it kind of sucks. Bjrklunden – I don’t understand why we can’t have the same incredible food at Downer that they do in Bjrklunden. Couldn’t they simply switch chefs? If such a thing were possible, then it would entirely eliminate the temptation to go to Bjrklunden and submit myself to two-and-a-half days of tedium and chores. Yes, it’s free as long as you’re paying $40,000-plus a year in tuition, but it always makes me want to kick a nun in the groin when one first arrives in Bjrklunden and is told by that jolly ginger-haired guy that we will all have an “opportunity” to give back by performing some manner of chore. We don’t go to Bjrklunden to be guilted into scrubbing the bathroom. We go to Bjrklunden to binge drink and smoke pot by the campfire. Admittedly, the concept of “opportunities” may only be irritating to me and my infinite supply of lazy, but I still think there are enough grounds to deem Bjrklunden as kind of sucking. Student video competitions – It’s nigh impossible to make a promotional video that doesn’t kind of suck. Last year’s “Light! More Light!” proved that the only way to make such videos even blander than they already are is to have students produce them. Did anybody see the fruit of this contest? Each entry was a harrowing hodgepodge of high-concept failures and techno music, none of which conveyed any discernibly useful information about Lawrence itself, which is why the competition kind of sucks. Environmental organizations and columns that don’t explicitly endorse veganism – I have a friend who is extremely passionate about environmentalism. I’ve literally seen him throw a fit at me and my friends for wasting Downer napkins, but because I happen to be a vegetarian, I ironically have a carbon footprint that is probably significantly smaller than his. Switching from an omnivorous to a vegan diet reduces one’s carbon emissions by 1.5 tons per year. By comparison, going from a regular car to a Prius reduces one’s carbon emissions by roughly one ton per year (check it out, I even have a source: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18825304.800-its-better-to-green-your-diet-than-your-car.html/). So, congratulations if you’re a vegan or vegetarian, because you’re probably a better person than the meat-eating environmentalist yelling at you for keeping your lights on. Those are the people who kind of suck.