Sarah Baker, Contributor
Congratulations on considering applying to Hampden College in scenic Analwink, Maine! We’re dedicated to selecting the most qualified students out of the thousands who apply, especially if their parents can pay the yearly tuition. We’d love to make the transition to a fully need-blind institution, but first we’re funding a new football field for our losing Division III team and a luxury dorm that includes a sauna, bowling alley, and wider shower stalls for ill-advised sexual encounters. Just remember to wear a condom – and shower shoes! No one wants to get freaky with a fungal infection, especially if they’ve already contracted ringworm from a prep school wrestling mat.
Honoring community values and Hampden’s spirit of inclusion, all exclusive or private social clubs and organizations are banned from campus. That includes fraternities and sororities, eating clubs, secret societies, and student-led organizations that filter membership on any basis. Exclusion is excluded from our school, as our motto makes clear: licet non exclusion (“exclusion not allowed”). It’s a beautiful thing. Anyone can join any group and work to enrich it with their leadership skills. For example, the Women’s Advocacy Group was flagging – membership had dipped and the group’s efforts to generate awareness of sexual assault on campus were unsuccessful. Once Trew Rennigan muscled his way into the women’s circle and elected himself President, awareness of rape on campus went up almost 70%. The exclusionary policies our peer institutions seem so fond of would never allow a man to effect that kind of social change. At Hampden, leadership is based on merit, not who knows the most about “the tyranny of structurelessness” or whatever Gender Studies majors care about.
Fostering a culture of inclusion begins before students even step on campus. Our pre-orientation trips traversing the beautiful New England coast – surfing, hiking, canoeing, etc. – give matriculants a chance to socialize in small groups with upperclassmen leaders who show them the ropes (sometimes literally, as with rock climbing). These trips are open to all incoming first-years*, though for whatever reason they’re most popular among white middle- to upper-class students who love the outdoors and can afford the $300 fee. Personally, we find it difficult to imagine that anyone would forgo an opportunity to sleep in a tent, on the ground, while their classmates discuss vacation homes on “the Vineyard” or heli-skiing in Ibiza. But if you’re a first-generation student who’d rather spend that last week of summer with your family and friends, be our guest. We just want first-years to feel as welcome as possible.
As a Hampden alumnus/a/um, you can always come “home” and reconnect with your classmates at reunion – yours would be in 2028. We hope you’re excited to take off work, travel to an obscure lakefront in Maine, and spend $200 on lobster! Just kidding. The $200 cost covers everything except the lobster dinner, which is an additional $75 – or $100 if you’d like to sit at the Trustees Table. Don’t you want to reminisce about the place that gave you so much, debt? If you can’t attend because of something gauche like “work” or “childcare” or “socioeconomic realities”, for $15 plus postage we’ll send you a commemorative magnet from our newly renovated college store. For a quintessentially New England college experience, consider Hampden. Especially if your parents can pay the tuition.
*we reject the term “freshman” as a hetero-patriarchal linguistic norm