Party school no longer


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As your designated bro columnist at The Daily Iowan, I am here to offer the bro perspective on all things bro. This week: The 2011 Playboy Party School Rankings. For the first time in three years, the University of Iowa did not make the top 10, which demands the question: What's up with that, bro?

And, more importantly, is this good for the UI?

There are three easy explanations for our drop out of the top 10. First, the passing of the 21-ordinance (dur); second, the under-performance of our football team (damn); and third, the onslaught of tailgating regulations (drag, drag, drag). Each provide a valid reasoning for our demotion, and each has been overcome by the current top-10 schools in one way or another.

Whatever the reason is for this year's apparent party pooping, the loss of our party-school superiority undermines the identity that past students have built from the bottom up — our reputation as students who have the stones to tackle the challenge of a top-rated academic institution while living in the Midwestern Mecca of fun and debauchery.

How many alumni have you seen shy away from a stranger starting a casual conversation, asking about Iowa's legendary tailgating experience and wondering how it's possible for anyone to stay focused in that kind of environment? How many times have you heard an alumnus tell that person that the university has been mislabeled, that the majority of students usually stay in and study on a Saturday night, ordering pizza and revising rough drafts? How many alumni have you talked to who don't take pride in conquering the high-stakes minefield of academia that is Iowa City?

That's what I thought.

Then again, you've probably never listened in on a UI alumnus at a job interview, conversations with which President Sally Mason and company seem to be the most concerned. Please, allow me to help you answer these delicate questions:

For those of you with lackluster credentials, you can't afford to deny any party-school allegations. If you tell them you were dead sober throughout college and still graduated with a 2.3, trust me: You come off as even more of a dumbass. Instead say that, while the amazing college atmosphere did do a lot to damage your GPA, you are confident that the experience has made you more resilient and that the social skills you chose to acquire during your brief college career could not be taught in any classroom.

For those of you with more impressive résumés, embrace the fact that you accomplished all you did while battling with, and occasionally partaking in, the alluring distractions around every corner. You can say the same thing I suggested above without needing to make any excuses about your GPA.

Isn't that fantastic?

In either case, be sure to cite the UI's classification as a "public ivy" and whatever national accolades are relevant to your degree. There are a lot. The UI boasts 24 different top-10 programs as ranked by the U.S. News & World Report, is the only Big Ten university listed as a "best buy" by the 2010 Fiske Guide to Colleges, and is located in a City of Literature in the world (as designated by UNESCO).

The UI itself proves that party-school designation and academic excellence are not mutually exclusive. If you compare Playboy's Party School rankings with U.S. News' National Public University rankings, you will find plenty more evidence. Five of the top-10 party schools rank among the top 20 public universities.

So what can we do to re-establish ourselves as a party power?

We could do more to embrace our live-music scene (how good have SCOPE, Live Weekend, and the Blue Moose been to us?). We could have all-out tailgates for our obnoxiously dominant wrestling team (third in the nation and we call it a "rebuilding year"). Playboy praises No. 1 Boulder's medical-marijuana dispensaries, so we could push for that kind of thing (Happy 4/20, by the way). We could pray for a Big Ten football championship (recite 40 Hail Vandenbergs each night before you go to bed). As one person suggested, we could protest the alcohol crackdown by boycotting a football game (the least plausible of the bunch, but a good idea nonetheless).

Or we could avoid fun at all costs, accept our new identity as a safety school with few extracurricular attractions, and try to maintain our sanity in our little corner of the corn field.

It's whatever, bro.

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