What would Ron Swanson say?
Swanson would probably find some of Wash. U.’s academic offerings a bit frivolous; as averse to pop-culture as he is, he might look down his nose at classes in the Film and Media Studies department. He might, however, be interested in bringing his staunch libertarian, anti-government views to a class such as “Introduction to Comparative Politics.” Of course, he also might try to petition the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts to open a major in woodworking, one of his true passions, as the subject is currently not offered as a major field of study in either the University or the University College. He’d also be interested in checking out the music department, on the down low, of course, in order to improve his saxophone skills he utilizes for his secret persona, jazz musician Duke Silver.
As Swanson’s conception of an “Upper Row” would be of the canoe variety, it is safe to say that the party scene that many Wash. U. students enjoy wouldn’t correlate with his idea of fun. A nature enthusiast, Swanson would likely be intrigued by the Outing Club, a Wash. U. student group that leads backpacking, camping and other trips that can be enjoyed while on a college budget. No icebreakers or group bonding activities for him, though: he’d definitely desire the solitude of just him and the stars. After renting his gear and packing scotch whiskey and beef jerky for sustenance, he’d head off on a magnificent solo journey accompanied only by his best friend, himself.
Of course, no trip to Wash. U. would be complete without a through sampling of our top-ranked cuisine. Swanson would be a fan of weekend brunch’s bacon but not its expensive price. As for the rest of Wash. U., the lifelong carnivore would definitely have his critiques and suggestions. Too vegetarian. Too multicultural. Too healthy. Not hearty enough. More meat. More bacon. More protein. If one doesn’t have time to listen to him rant about the oppressiveness of healthy foods, it would probably be best not to mention the words “Connie’s Choice” while in his presence. The best eatery to take Swanson to would definitely be The Carvery in Homes Lounge. And if you don’t want to watch him brood for the rest of the night, make sure that he doesn’t notice how many line-goers are ordering their wraps made in the healthier spinach version.
The overt friendliness of the student body would most likely annoy Swanson, who likes to maintain distance between himself and others, especially strangers. Every smile he received would prompt an interrogation—“How do you know me?”—and he would walk from Steinberg Hall to the South 40 with a perpetual frown. His independent, self-reliant personality would clash with the social element of Wash. U.; if he tried to enjoy a coffee and newspaper in Whispers Cafe around lunchtime, he would probably become visibly fed up with the constant chatter occurring around him on all sides. Although the many go-getter students might annoy him at first, he would probably end up feeling a sense of affection for them (especially if they did his work in group projects) similar to the unwavering bond of mutual affection that he has formed over time with his colleague Leslie Knope.
Although Swanson has never revealed where he went to college, he has said that he enjoyed his time there and learned a lot. Could it have been Wash. U.? Who knows, but I think that if Wash. U. had been Swanson’s university of choice, he would have definitely found a place here.