20-Hour SP&L Retreat: Here’s how it went

This past weekend, on our first weekend back at RWU, all returning students who were members of an organization on campus, such as WQRI, Student Senate, and yours truly, The Hawks’ Herald, had to attend an all-weekend retreat. When I say all-weekend, this isn’t just a couple hours each day where we watch YouTube. This retreat started at 8:15 a.m. and lasted until 8:30 p.m. — but that’s not all. The next day, we were imprisoned in GHH again, from 8:15 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Now, that is a total of twenty hours and honestly, it may have been the single worst event I was forced to go to on campus throughout my college career — by the way, I’m a senior.

While I expect those survivors to share empathy, I don’t expect sympathy from those who are reading about this. Like privileged sheep, we were herded into depths of the GHH atrium. We filed into our seats, where I thoroughly began to draft my letter of resignation. Welcome to the life of a lowly, unpaid org leader on the RWU campus.

For breakfast we were treated with popular snacks from our Kindergarten days — Little Bites™ and the popular brand of juice-in-a-bag, CapriSun™, not to mention the most degrading thing a university could offer us adults — Mott’s Applesauce to-go — the preferred baby food from moms everywhere. Turns out this hellish event, like pregnancy, was sponsored by Gerber. Nutritious and delicious! It’s funny how Commons isn’t the only place that gets lazy on the weekends.

When I say that we spent one whole hour on learning how to shake someone’s hand, utilizing a “smooth move” on how to dry your hand on your pants discreetly before shaking, I am not lying. The guy continued to shake everyone’s hand, rubbing his hip every time he did so — each time looking as though he was pulling a sidearm on the poor individuals from ICC. By the end of the “handshaking part of the lesson,” the speaker’s hand had friction burns and his suit was now defined by the uncomfortable word, “moist.”

Most people would say, “Hey, why not just do homework and text all day?” Well, kind of you to think of that scheme for us. We were ordered like infants to shut down our phones and put it under our chairs while we listened to a speaker for four hours. By the end of the day, this guy’s voice sounded like Al Pacino in Scarface — poor guy needed a lozenge. As he yelled, jumped up and down, and ran around the room trying to entertain the blank staring faces of the RWU student body, we sat there at 8:00 a.m. — waiting and waiting and waiting.

Organizations are underappreciated here at RWU. We slave in our offices organizing newspapers, radio programs, etc., and now we must endure the hardship of a 20-hour retreat that takes place over our first weekend back. We are forced to attend countless workshops, retreats and meetings — never mind our own weekly general staff meetings, as well as executive board meetings — for what?

Already, we put in the time, blood, sweat and tears to help lead and run our organization, and by tacking on, frankly, long, tedious, repetitive retreats every semester is absurd. Why are we, the student body leaders, being punished with these retreats when we already have a full schedule? If we don’t attend, we risk our positions in the org, and if we do, we lose our right to have a life. While SP&L had good intentions hosting this retreat for us, the overall point was drowned by its length. All in all, within this satirical news rant I want to put the ball in SP&L’s court. First, talk to more students and get their take. We know what we need and we don’t need to be preached to by a public speaker. Next, consider cutting the time in half or more. There is only so much time a newspaper can prep because we write on current affairs, not historical reports. But, I digress.