“Does your college offer a quirky tour for prospective students?” The Chronicle of Higher Education recently asked this question in its online Daily Briefing.
At least 5 schools can answer the Chronicle with a resounding “YES.” Behold:
Yale University: Perhaps the quirkiest tour of them all. Yale’s Beinecke Library is home to a copy of one the world’s rarest and most valuable books, the 1455 Gutenberg Bible.
If your family’s net worth is at least $250 million, you and your child can participate in the little-known Gutenberg Scavenger Hunt. Prior to the Hunt, Beinecke staff rip out 3 pages from the Bible and hide them throughout the Library. You get to keep any pages you discover as you search the building on your own for up to an hour.
According to Beinecke Director Michelle Light, “Mark Zuckerberg has already made a 2033 Hunt reservation for his daughter Maxima, who’s currently 6 years old. Harvard, I’m so sorry. Oops, did that sound insincere?”
Rutgers University: The Reimbursement Trail Tour is a must for high school seniors who desire a career in customer service. Visitors are given a request-for-reimbursement form filled out by a fictitious faculty member, then follow the route taken by the form until the request is finally approved (or denied).
The tour includes visits to at least 15 University offices in 12 different buildings across the campus. See what happens when a staff member mistakenly forwards the form to the wrong office, or forgets to sign it before transmission. Please Note: This tour cannot be completed in one day. Set aside at least a week. Prepare for intermittent rudeness and an attitude that screams, “this task is beneath me, even though it’s my job.”
Texas A&M University: The school’s enormously popular Guns N’ Roses Tour takes you to every location on campus where handguns and automatic weapons are legally stored in preparation for the nation’s coming race war. “None of the firearms are loaded, so it’s OK for even young kids in the family to play with them,” boasts Texas A&M Police Chief Ned Thickett. “At the end of the tour every mom is given a single rose as the student guide sings ‘The Yellow Rose of Texas’, which would be our state song if I had my way.”
Princeton University: Princeton is the site of the only arboretum in the United States devoted to the cultivation of organic bow ties. “We’re not a Southern school, but we like to think of ourselves as one,” notes arboretum director Cahill Van Arsdale. “And what says ‘The South’ more vividly than a colorful bow tie worn with a crisp, white, short-sleeved shirt on a hot summer’s day? Join us for an arboretum tour and a glass of ice-cold sweet tea!”
Bucknell University: Every tour includes a quarter-mile stroll through Adjunct Alley. This quiet wooded path on the outskirts of campus is lined with statues of deceased adjunct faculty members who, at various times, held the record for most consecutive number of incorrect payments received from the Business Office.
“The Alley is a tribute to the dedication, perseverance, and desperate financial straits of folks who kept teaching part-time for us for so many years,” says Business Office Director Bex Tifton. “I tear up whenever I walk down Adjunct Alley. I really do. The recorded chamber music coming from speakers hidden in the azaleas gets me every time.”
We’re sure it does, Bex. We’re sure it does.