Yesterday morning, my internal alarm clock woke me up at 0700 because I was supposedly to meet up BWI(see Carbon Footprint post) at 0845. Not really wanting to go to whatever nonsensical event they had planned this week, I made an agreement with my club president the night before. If she woke me up in time for me to make it to the event, I would go. Otherwise....well. I figured that having a cute girl wake me up in the morning was payment enough for me to do whatever it was they were doing for a coupla hours.
I rolled over and went back to sleep. 45 minutes later, my phone rang.
That morning, we(BWI) were to head off in support of UCLA BWI(seems they need a lot of support) and help them with the restoration of some creek that ran thorough the UCLA campus.
So there we were, three cars, 15 people driving some 50 miles across Los Angeles County to help the few UCLA BWI members that deigned to show(some 4-5). When we reached UCLA, we spent a half hour trying to find the parking structure we were directed to park at, and paid 10USD a car for that same privilege(that's two hours of work after taxes for most people). UCLA is clearly not lacking in funds, seeing as they have some 20 parking areas, all at 10USD/car and all having at least a hundred cars in them.
Already, a unsettling feeling had grown in the pit of my stomach. We came to volunteer, and it's already cost us 10USD not counting time and gas money to do so, paid directly to UCLA.
So we meet up with the UCLA BWI members and were handed tools (after signing the ever present non-liability waiver) and given an explanation as to what we were to do that morning. Apparently, we were to remove some invasive plant life from the creek area make room for the native flora to grow back in. Basically, we were weeding, for free, because someone at UCLA was smart enough to slant it as volunteer work so they wouldn't have to pay people to do their weeding for them.
So there we were, squatting on our haunches in the dirt, digging and pulling up grass and weeds. With our group and the fraternity that had also showed up to fill their volunteer quota for the quarter, we had some 40-50 people weeding in the creek bed.
I immediately figured that someone at UCLA was extremely clever. Not only does UCLA get their weeding done for free, but they also get the income from the parking fees of the people that came to help UCLA during their time of "need."
Honestly though, UCLA is clearly a well off school. Compared to all the other BWI chapter campus', UCLA's campus was by far the most posh, for the lack of a better word. Having us go there was like asking the poor to help the needy rich. It really was a case of the rich getting richer, at the expense of the unwitting poor.
I suppose it wasn't all bad. I got to meet some new people and explore the UCLA campus a bit.
I still want my 10 bucks back though.
After I left that den of (insert something not nice here) and the group of obliviously naive volunteers(who were happy with their day of "good deeds"), I went to meet with my usual crew of friends.
It was an early Thanksgiving get together, with a small footnote: it was also a birthday(I got him some nun chucks I looted from work). It took place in the apartment of our friend's girlfriend, who made dinner for us with her roommates. Beyond the chauvinistic connotations, the gathering brought a warm, fuzzy feeling into my cold heart.
We had good food, good company, and good conversation.
Never mind the facts, that most, if not all, of us were college students living off our parent/guardian's dime.
Never mind the fact that most of us would graduate next year and have to scrabble desperately to find jobs.
We were all together, without a care in the world. It was a good night.
I wished nights like these could last forever.
In other news, I met a cat today. It was pretty.