50 years is nothing to say nothing about

Chris Slattery

Grand Valley State University is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, yet I’ve noticed a disturbing lack of enthusiasm from the student population. This apathy is no one’s fault, really; Grand Valley has been advertising like crazy, a lot of organizations have events that commemorate the celebration and I feel like I can’t go anywhere on campus without seeing a giant “50.”

And while, to some, “5-0” may just be a code that the cops are coming to break up a party, to others, it means a half-century—something to celebrate.

I noticed this unfortunate indifference last week when I attended the Louie birthday party by the clock tower. I felt as though it was a great opportunity to raise awareness of the accomplishment of being a 50-year-old school by giving away free hot dogs and cake. Unfortunately, most people in line had no idea what the free food represented and probably were under the impression that GVSU is the kind of school that gives out free food on a Monday due to a slow curriculum day. This was an actual conversation I heard:

“Hey man, what’s going on here?”

“Free food, bro.”

“Free food? What for?”

“I think it’s because a new season of Dexter started. Did you see it? It was killer … “

And so on.

Perhaps I’m making too big a fuss about this. Maybe 50 years isn’t such a big deal for a university. Just look at Michigan State University, a college that has been around since actual Spartan warriors attended (it was the only way to dodge the draft during the Trojan War).

Somehow, I doubt it, though. I think that a half-centennial is a momentous occasion, especially for a school such as ours, located in the middle of nowhere.

People have certainly come up with dumber anniversaries to celebrate. The sinking of the Titanic, for instance, will be memorialized in 2012 in two different— but equally idiotic— ways.

1. James Cameron will re-release his second-highest grossing movie, cryptically named “Titanic,” in 3D. This is likely due to the fact that the movie did not make enough money the first time around.

2. A new ship, misguidedly named Titanic, will launch in spring 2012 to coincide with the 100th anniversary (of the first sinking). There will be precisely the same amount of passengers as last time (you know, when it sank and left thousands of people to freeze to death in the ocean). There is still no word as to whether they will bring an adequate amount of lifeboats.

As you can see, there are far worse ceremonious events taking place. So really, what’s holding you back from celebrating a big moment in GVSU’s history? It can be as simple as putting a “GV 50” bumper sticker on your car.

You could go so far as to organize a mob around the Clock Tower to sing a rowdy round of “Happy Birthday.” Imagine the entire student population gathered in the small area, having no clue whether the third line is “Happy birthday Grand Valley” or “Happy birthday dear Lakers” or some other variation resulting in a cacophony of muttered loyalties.

Just run this assembly by the administration first; I’d hate for it to be broken up by the 5-0.

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