Only the fit survive on Rye’s island

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Lori Fazari 


Everyone loves a peek inside others’ private lives.

Just take this summer’s television ratings as proof. Millions of viewers watched spellbound as rat-eating, back-stabbing castaways were one by one kicked off the island of Pulau Tiga for a shot at $1-million (U.S.) on Survivor. Those who were glued to their sets watching Big Brother wondered how long it would take for the housebound residents to come to cabin fever-induced blows.

This sanctioned voyeurism is so addictive because it helps feed our egos, making us feel grounded knowing there are others in the world whose perspective on life is just a little more screwed than ours, whose problems are just a little bit grander than our own.

Enter Ryerson, this venerable institution run by a bunch of wing-nuts who seem to forget that we’re also a non-profit, public entity. There are quite a few campus celebrities whose personal quirks and motives would make any corporate executive whore feel warm-blooded.

What would happen if you stranded a few of them in some faraway oasis in the South Pacific with nothing but their bare hands and wit to live on? Would a truer, more noble society form without the pressures of the fast-paced world we live in, or would the forces of survival of the fittest turn everyone into a selfish, self-serving prick?

If you stranded Ryerson and RyeSAC executives in a tropical paradise à la Pulau Tiga, the first thing the university execs would do is charge admission, while the RyeSACers would start fashioning pickets out of palm tree leaves for a mass protest and march along the beach.

Suffering from heat exhaustion and a lack of French cuisine, Ryerson president Claude Lajeunesse would find himself wandering some isolated beach, muttering under his breath about those kids trying to take over the island.

VP administration Linda Grayson and ancillary services director John Corallo would be climbing the jungle walls without their phones, faxes and e-mail, with which they would have tried to broker a few sweet sponsorship deals to make the island a little slice of corporate heaven.

Coke would naturally be the beverage of choice to quench the islanders’ thirst, which The Toronto Star would bring you news form home. The pristine white sand would be sold off as advertising space, and a banner between the trees of the jungle entrance would be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

While Ryerson executives plotted about how to make the island a profitable venture in the face of dwindling resources, the RyeSACers would be whooping it up with the discovery of a hallucinogenic plant root. That would naturally hamper their attempts at building a centre where the tribe could converge to chill and socialize—not to mention that they need a consensus before making any move.

RyeSAC president Cory Wright would likewise feel lost without his cellphone and e-mail, with which he could confer with his Canadian Confederation of Students’ comrades back home before making any big move.

Meetings of this young generation’s alliance would stretch well into the night, with members sitting around scratching their bug bites and complaining about how their feelings have been hurt by another person’s actions.

Ryerson may not be an island, but on this campus, self-interest still reigns. Wait until the Ryerson and RyeSAC tribes meet this year, because sometimes, real life can be more interesting than television.

Stay tuned.

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