Column: GW’s strategies to rise in rankings

If there is one thing I try to do with this column, it is to raise awareness of the many and wonderful pork products and their uses. And if there is a second thing I try to do, it is to undermine the career of Tom Hanks. But the third thing I set out to achieve is making people happy. And last week I began noticing a lot of people down in the mouth.

Disappointed to see so many sad faces, I started asking around trying to find out what has everyone down. Most people said something to this affect: “Mark, despite your brand of zany intertextualism and the levity with which you imbue campus happenings, GW is headed in the wrong direction. Maybe I should just join the circus!”

I sympathize with this sentiment. After all, I was here during the glory days when GW stood proud in U.S. News and World Report’s tier one, when our men’s basketball team earned a birth in the NCAA Tournament and the geography department seemed only days away from completing its search for the storied Northwest Passage. I was here to witness GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg’s glorious orientation address wherein he proclaimed, “I have the key to One-Eyed Willy!”

It was a magical time. But there were hardships, too. There was Pepsi, the MC Store and frequent attacks by pirates and Australian BMX gangs. Sure, GW has fallen on hard times the past couple of years, but I am convinced that we are on our way back. Actually, I am willing to guarantee that GW returns to the U.S. News and World Report’s top 50 next time around. No longer will we be mired in the void of tier two amidst the likes of County College of Morris, The Chubb Institute and American University.

Why such brash confidence? GW understands the ranking system better than it has in the past. Many other universities operate under the false assumption that academics, reputation, graduation rates and the like are weighted heavily. In reality such factors represent only a small percentage of the ranking index, while the magazine takes other aspects of college life more seriously. Wisely, GW ignores things like having books in the library, class size and a low student-to-teacher ratio instead focusing their attention where it really matters.

Close study of the index reveals what most top-flight universities have known for years. The three most important factors are publicity, student-to-statue ratio and availability of pornography. Many universities attempt to exploit the peculiarity of the system by excelling in just one area. For example Boston College maintains its high ranking by having a statue-to-student ratio greater than 2-to-1. Indeed, BC no longer holds any classes at all. Georgetown has taken a similar path to high rankings. Georgetown’s campus looks more like pre-Disney Times Square nowadays – silly Jesuits and their pornography. GW’s approach is more well-rounded, attacking all three.

Just this past week, GW’s new publicity campaign scored another great victory. The initiative consisted of two parts. First, every day the administration delivers one-pound of cooked bacon to Dick Cheney’s office. Second, they sit back and wait for the heart attacks to roll in. There is even talk of having Big George run the post-coronary press conferences from now on. At this rate we might be able to ride Dick’s defunct heart all the way to number one.

But the University is not taking any chances. In addition to the countless new statues added this past year, the University will unveil its “Active Trachtenberg” statue series over the next few weeks, including such soon-to-be-favorites as “Luge Trachtenberg,” “Boogie Board Trachtenberg,” and “Jazzercise Trachtenberg.” And, of course, GW has already addressed its pornography concerns with its newest publication, the GW Journal – on newsstands now.

With all three of these initiatives in place, GW will certainly revisit the glory of old. Just to be certain, I decided to ask SJT what he thought of the low morale around campus. I caught up with him in his private bunker one mile below Rice Hall. Sweating profusely and sipping a mixture of grain alcohol and rainwater, he started in before I could ask my question.

“Women sense my power and they seek the life essence. I don’t avoid women, Mr. Olsen, but I do deny them my life essence.”

So there you have it.

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