Posts Tagged ‘buzzfeed’

A while back I got a letter—in the mail—from someone in SUNY New Paltz’s alumni relations department asking me to give back to my alma mater. (I’ve written before about my feelings donating to my school, so I’ll save you having to read that rant again.)

The letter, which was ostensibly personalized to my year of graduation (2004), included a reference to the “unforgettable” a capella group at New Paltz, Absolut A Capella.

Referencing something from my time at New Paltz was a smart move, and likely a tactic many alumni relations people at all different schools use as a way of getting grads to feel all mushy inside about their college experience—and to loosen their purse strings (or their Venmo accounts or whatever people use to pay for things these days).

But here’s the problem: I have no effing idea what Absolut A Capella is or was! I don’t doubt that there was an a capella music movement at my school during the years in which I matriculated (I’ve always wanted to use that word) at New Paltz—they made a whole movie about it, and I’ve confirmed with friends that this was a thing at other schools—but I have NO recollection of such a movement at New Paltz. In fact an a capella group, based on my experience at NP, was the exact opposite sort of thing that would have been indigenous to the culture of the school.

(A quick Google search confirmed that Absolut A Capella is and was indeed a thing at New Paltz, originating in 2001, my freshman year at the school. Further, if you click on the link in their Facebook profile it brings you to what appears to be an Asian website about catering. And, despite my holding a journalism degree from New Paltz, this is where the investigation ended.)

The stars of Absolut A Capella...?

The stars of Absolut A Capella…?

Anyway I thought of the legendary Absolut A Capella last night when I came across a Buzzfeed article called “15 Things Only A New Paltz Student Would Understand.” (How does a small, public liberal arts college get a feature on internet darling/juggernaut, you ask? Per the site: This post was created by a user and has not been vetted or endorsed by BuzzFeed’s editorial staff. BuzzFeed Community is a place where anyone can post awesome lists and creations.)

I don’t want to dissect this unvetted, unendorsed post written by a college student—who, BTW, probably just got more eyes on something she wrote than I ever have—because that’s a little lame and weird. That said I do have a couple of notes as someone who graduated from New Paltz 11 years ago.

None of the following items on her list are endemic to New Paltz, specifically: hilly parts of campus; student-athletes using Gatorade bottles; a preponderance of dyed hair; overly aggressive campus cops; printing quotas—you know what, nevermind. This article stinks to me, but maybe current New Paltz students love it. Maybe seeing people with dyed hair is completely mind-blowing to the modern college student. Whatever.

I’ll leave you with a glimpse of the SUNY New Paltz I remember, from an excerpt of a thing I wrote when I was in school as part of a Joan Didion “Los Angeles Notebook” knockoff:

It was a late October afternoon, walking on my way to my Literature of Journalism class. It’s about a five-minute walk through campus to the Humanities Building. As I walked to class on this brisk autumn day, dreading the thought that it will only get colder than this as we get into winter, I see a girl walking towards me.

Like many colleges, New Paltz tends to be extremely liberal. So whenever I walk through the campus and streets of New Paltz, not much surprises me.

Walking towards me and eventually past me on my left side is a girl wearing a sandwich board. However, instead of the board reading the sandwich special of the day for a local deli (which would have been odd enough), it was painted like a stick of Doublemint gum. As I am prone to do when I am in New Paltz, I shrugged it off and walked to class.

On that same route to class I noticed a girl wearing devil horns, and again, I thought, “OK, nothing I haven’t seen before in New Paltz.”

Suddenly, I realized it was Halloween, and though I felt like an idiot because I didn’t figure it out right away, I didn’t feel that stupid about it. I see things like this on the other 364 days a year that aren’t Halloween. But instead of a feeling of frustration, or confusion, I kind of just laughed it off and thought, “Just another day at New Paltz–my college.”

Was there something unique to your college experience that you think people who graduated when you did could appreciate? Share in the comments!

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