I often ask myself this question, wondering how effective, say, 20 undergrads would be versus one janitor – changing a lightbulb. Not to shed bad light on undergrads, I’m one as it is, but one incident struck me as the power, or lack thereof, of a collective body of students. Now, I need to make clear that I DID NOT call Public Safety (DPS) either, but I’m exempt, because, uh, well, you know.
The map above shows the parking lot I park in, and the path I set off on to walk to class (Orange lot, the yellow indicates Graduate student parking). Two weeks before Thanksgiving (Fall 2004), a dead raccoon appeared on the grass right next to the sidewalk (marked by the red “X”). Now, I really like raccoons, and was deeply saddened by it’s untimely demise. That being said, SOMEONE needs to clean it up.
You need to realize the context – the sidewalk is not often traveled by students – bus’s run every ten minutes – it’s about 1 USA city block to walk to the nearest building (well, main ME buildings). Still, there should have been enough students who said, “Sure, I’ll call DPS, and ask them who to contact.” Not that I can tell. I promised myself – if that animal hasn’t disappeared by the time I get back from vacation, I’ll call DPS. Sure enough, the animal didn’t disappear. I waited a few weeks, snow came, then the snow melted, animal still there.
Weeks later, I decide to call. By now, the raccoon is frozen, sort of like Hans Solo being frozen in carbonite. I couldn’t ask DPS to dig through the snow (Arrr, ye walk three paces t’ th’ port once ye pass th’ lightpost. Turn t’ th’ sun, an’ dig fer 3 minutes.), nor was I going to clear the snow and call them. I did the next best thing: nothing.
Once the snow melts, I will call DPS. Only if another student doesn’t do it first.
Update: 2/15/2005 I called!!! By this time, all the snow had melted, and the poor little raccoon looked like a ball of white rags, with a (shudder) spine. Gross. Thankfully, he was gone by the time I left for the day. Had they not seen him, I feared they’d think I was being a prankster. The woman I spoke to on the phone laughed when I said it’d been there since Thanksgiving.