Note from Jeff Geerling: The following video and post was created by my brother, Joel, while he was a student at Saint Louis University (which is where I received my bachelor's degree in Philosophy!). I'm reposting his content on my blog since SLU no longer hosts student content on their website. See also: SLU for U (The Original), The Making of SLU for U.
Explanation Behind the Animation
"Loading" loop with snoring DPS officer
If you frequent one of SLU's surface parking lots, you've probably seen this, too (one very recent elderly DPS snoozer on the Marchetti "St. Peters" lot inspired this bit). A DPS officer in his (I've never seen a female doing this) DPS cruiser, parked inconspicuously in a SLU lot, taking a well-deserved catnap in the driver's seat. I always found this kind of funny - until my car was recently ravaged by some stereo thieves. Allow me take a brief moment to dispel an incorrect assessment some people have ascribed to me: I do not dislike our Department of Public Safety. In fact, I honestly believe that, given the surroundings (SLU isn't exactly in the middle of Safetyville), the DPS officers do a good job. SLU "feels" safe at night - not because we have pretty fountains and statues and landscaping, but because of the visible and effective DPS presence. By virtue of their campus visibility, however, DPS officers inevitably lend themselves to being symbolic subjects for a little humor every once in a while (cf. the original SLU for U animation). No harm, no foul, DPS? Truce?
The "Initiation" scenes
When I first animated these scenes (December/January 2000/2001), I feared I was, perhaps, a bit harsh. Then, this fear of mine was decisively proven dead wrong - Fr. Biondi sent us all a big lump of incontinence in the form of an email announcing YET ANOTHER 7% tuition increase for 2001-02 and AN AVERAGE 16.4% HIKE IN FEES FOR SLU'S ALREADY-OVERCROWDED HOUSING! He followed this announcement with a bunch of -- pardon my lack of restraint -- BULLSHIT about how SLU is kindasorta like WashU, Northwestern, Georgetown, and Nortre Dame (they still cost more, so we shouldn't complain) ... ... ... ... ... sorry, I still convulse with anger every time I think about this. Furthermore, he addressed his financial comments and defensive B.S. to "parents" - completely ignorant of the large number of us, who bear 100% of the weight of drastically increased tuition and housing bills on our own weary backs. Compared with my Freshman year, I paid $3460 more in tuition this school year alone. To Fr. Biondi and other apathetic administrators, that may be no big deal - toss a few more scholarship bones to the incoming Freshman class to make it seem as though everything evens out. To a student worker like myself, that means having to work 300 hours more over the past year - 6 additional hours per week, all year - during the months in which I could have been spending more time hitting the books for my senior year studies.
With respect to our overcrowded campus housing, here's my take - res halls and apartments are already overcrowded - rooms that were once singles and doubles are now triples. 5th year seniors are now denied housing, across the board (except, of course, the 5th year SGA president and a select few athletes?). Here are the Three Obvious Solutions to this problem: (1) Build more housing - e.g., instead of the palm trees and wading pools and grass where we razed the old State apartments, why not more housing?
(4/24/2001) Kudos to Biondi & Co. for their purchase of the Grand Forest Apartment complex (assuming negotiations were conducted fairly). Time will tell, but, hopefully, this will noticeably alleviate the current housing.
(2) Admit only the number of students that can comfortably squeeze into our current housing. We all know this will never happen, because that would mean less $$ in the coffers. But - hear me out - this second option has a suprise benefit! The clear way to cut down on admissions numbers would be to - omigod - RAISE ADMISSIONS STANDARDS! Instead of yapping about our paltry ACT average of 26 (we're in a dead heat with the nearest big state schools now), Fr. Biondi could have something worth touting. However, I no longer believe him when he tells us that he wants to bring SLU's reputation outside its Midwestern sphere, to make SLU "the best Catholic University" in the country. (3) The SLU administration approach: "we'll look into that" (resume counting money garnished from another record-sized class). By the way, the mechanical, impersonal assembly line motif in this scene was no accident - anyone who's been through the process knows that SLU still has a host of bugs to work out in its processing of students (before and after Freshman year). If any independent auditors are to be called in anytime soon, I recommend that they begin with the department of Residence Life.
Some may disagree with me, but I really dig the water all over campus. Other than the RIDICULOUS putting green (whose idea was that??), the new Laclede park is a great place for a walk, a game of catch, or whatever. The new business school rapids are neat, too (however, the cost = less housing potential via razing the old Scholar's house). I got so much flak for not dropping any fountains into the first animation that I had to do something, and Snorkel Guy (name changed at his request) was the result. Don't try this on your own - I hear there's a $100 fine for playing in SLU fountains.
"Ambition" (Super Biondi)
If you've played the original "Super Mario Bros." Nintendo game (who hasn't?), you understand the motif... if not, there's nothing the modern world can do to help you :-) For those of you who do not follow my symbolism well: our President came to his current position of respect and power in St. Louis because of the enormous amounts of $$ he raises for SLU, enabling his construction (and demolition) projects galore (and, oh yeah, more scholarships and faulty and technology and stuff). Hence, the coins and the moneybag "powerup" (vis-a-vis the Mario Bros. mushroom) making our symbolic Jesuit big and powerful enough to raze buildings in a single bound - even one that he had no right to own (20 North). Along the way, he steps on a few students - so what? The whole 20 North eminent-domain-to-Biondi thing really ticked me off (not because I care about the bar - I'd never even been there - it was the principle of the thing). Knocking down the State Apartments and Scholars house to add greenspace to the campus sounded to me like a pretty dumb idea, with Freshman admissions going up each year (yes, Rev., I know - you built the Village to address this, but it ain't enough).
Heaven or Hell?
First, I must give credit where credit is due. I ripped off the "Heaven or Hell" idea from another Flash animation called "The God and Devil Show" at Warner Brothers online (http://www.warnerbros.com/pages/god_devil/index.jsp). I just couldn't pass it up! For heaven, I have The Man gaining the right to tear down the entire city - and doing so. This is my comic vision of what our Lexus-driving, big-money-schmoozing, suntanning, board-member president would do if he had eminent domain over the entire City of Saint Louis. For hell, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to give you the pleasure of dropping The Man guy to a painful, fiery death, if only symbolically (w.r.t. the lock-up and the Mastercard jacket, think "School of the Americas protest"...).
Those funky chicks with cell phones and rolling suitcases Alright - we've all seen 'em. You may even be one! Yes, I'm referring to the legion of rolling-a-suitcase-instead-of-carrying-a-normal-bookbag females who have appeared on campus over the past two years. What's the deal? Are we averting posturepedic problems? Just too lazy to carry a bag around? Can't afford a bookbag after the steep cost of luggage? Perhaps someone can fill me in. I'm guilty of the antisocial mobile phone usage between classes, too (only for work - I swear). This rampant phenomenon has no actual correllation with the females who roll their books around, but I thought it was a good place to satirize this, as well.
Some Final Thoughts
I graduate this May (2001) - assuming that those who may wish to expel me don't read this until June! I will miss many aspects of SLU and many of the good people here. On the other hand, I won't miss the regular headaches SLU has delivered. However, as an educational investment, I still think SLU was a decent choice. I don't know about SLU ever becoming the "best Catholic University" in the country, but I do believe that the value of my SLU diploma will increase along with SLU's reputation (unfortunately, though, this will probably only increase along with tuition and student disenchantment). I make one plea to the SLU administration: I admire your efforts and you have done much good for SLU and for Midtown in recent years. However, do not lose the soul of your student-customers. SLU is not supposed to be just a growing University; it's a Catholic University. It's not just a Catholic University; it is a Jesuit University. Without committed students, SLU is nothing.
To the students who will remain at SLU after this school year - particularly, the 86% of the Freshman class who find SLU worthy enough to stick around: my one regret about my time at SLU is that I did not get out and do more. Granted, I took a big courseload and worked quite a bit to support myself, but I wish I'd taken a bit more action. I was very involved in a few organizations and activities, but none that effectively fought the Administration's disregard for its student-customers. So, I ask you - when you identify problems here, get mad and get out and do something about them. Don't be like me - don't just be a sniper at the end of your time here, taking satirical pot-shots at problems you didn't do much to fix. Take initiative. Organize and motivate like-minded classmates. Form clear goals (don't fall where the SGA has), band together, and use your collective influence to get what you deserve, as a student-customer at SLU. Don't let The Man and his friends get you down - get mad and do something about it!
I wish you all the best of luck...
This page was migrated from Joel Geerling's former SLU-hosted website, which used to be accessible at http://www.slu.edu/people/geerlijc-00.html until 2007, when it was migrated to Jeff Geerling's website.