By Matt Edwards
So there’s this group of people, hypothetically of course, and collectively they come to a realisation: They all live in their own houses. So what do they do? What any intelligent group of people in the same situation would do. They start a club, a club exclusively for people that live in houses. Along with this club they institute their own policies regarding people that live in houses, they put their own form of authority in place to watch over these house-dwellers and make sure that their safety and well-being is at its premium. They even throw parties exclusively for people who live in houses. They start their own sports teams. They start their own sports leagues. They start their own newspaper. Some of them even adopt a bright orange uniform. All of this, only because they all live in houses.
Now this is all fine and dandy, but then they go one step further. You see, there are many people that live in houses, but not everyone wants to be in this club. So they send emails. They send Facebook messages. They try to spread the glorious word of house-living to as many people as possible. They even charge other house-dwellers a non-negotiable membership fee (that most people don’t even know they pay). Simply because, if you live in a house, how could you not want to be part of this “uber-cool” club.
A statement was made in another publication last week that a few years ago “the campus newspaper didn’t even know how to spell ‘Oppidan’”. While I can assure you that Activate can indeed spell oppidan (look, there it is right there, and note the small ‘o’), I can’t help but think: “Who would want to spell oppidan”? I mean, it’s a stupid word.
I honestly hated the time I spent living in res, so I moved out. One of the main reasons I moved out is because I wasn’t so fond of all the rules and regulations and the “ra ra we all live in the same building” vibe. I have nothing against community spirit, but my definition of community extends far beyond simply where I sleep at night.
This is my problem with the whole oppidan system. While residence-dwellers do, in fact, get three meals a day, they don’t have to do dishes, and they always have a sub-warden to whine to when things got tough, they also pay to get this. And to be completely frank, I don’t think res food can be considered an upside to living in res. I don’t want a sub-warden looking over my shoulder and I don’t want other people cleaning my dishes. I want to be independent.
I realise that my sentiments might not be shared by others, and that’s cool. But, in my mind, creating an entire subculture based on one’s proximity to campus is not.