The Collegian
Friday, February 23, 2024

Voice of reason: guide to campus etiquette III

On Monday I spent approximately an hour and 15 minutes trudging through the snow, to and from class, the Pier, the library, the dining hall, the gym, North Court and X-lot. For me, this is a typical day. For you, I'm guessing it's not far off.

As college students, we spend a significant portion of our days on the sidewalks, walkways and footpaths that guide us through campus. It's no secret that Monday through Thursday, most University of Richmond students are all work, no play, so why not enjoy the time we spend traveling between commitments?

Here are some tips to keep the walkways full of smiles and free of the broken ankles and muddy shoes that result from being nudged off the curbside by passersby.

1. Try not to take up the entire path.

A. Whether there's one of you or there are 10 of you, stay on the right side (no, your other right). No one likes to be forced off the path into the grass or off the curb into the road - it's just so lonely. The groupies have their friends, but when you're all by your lonesome, now you're all by your lonesome in the road. Watch out for cars!

Ideally, you groupies could look up and see the loners, and suspend your conversation for just a moment, so that both parties could use the path. Our lives are very busy, and time is money, but it just takes a moment to be considerate.

B. Groups of girls in heels (and other slow walkers) - people need to pass you when they're in a hurry. Just like it's killer irritating when you are stuck behind side-by-side, slower-than-the-speed-limit drivers who are in cahoots on the highway, it's not cool to be stuck behind side-by-side, slower-than-the-speed-limit walkers on their way to class. Either pick up the pace, or if you can't, stay on the lookout for people racing to class or trying to escape the cold. Just because you're enjoying your walk doesn't mean everyone else has to be late!

2. Try not to poke people in the head with the spokes of your umbrella.

It's just not kind. This is most often a problem for the vertically challenged on days when it rains. You hunker down with your head tucked right beneath your 'brellie and you've got your eyes trained on the puddle up ahead, not the unsuspecting girl walking by. Poke! Got her — right in the noggin.

I don't think that you predators are intending to skewer the umbrella-less, but it happens. My only request is, hey, keep your eyes up and try not to poke us!

3. Say hello when you see your friends (and acquaintances)!

So many of us are in the habit of walking with our gaze toward the ground, on the way from A to B, and we ignore all the people passing us.

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There are few things that can brighten a day like a smiling friend saying: "Hey, what's up? It's so good to see you. How's life going?" One step better - a smile followed by a hug. Who doesn't like a hug?

Maybe you don't have time for all that. Maybe all you have time for is a quick high-five or a big smile. That's OK — better than a blank stare, or that shifty eye contact we've all mastered.

Contact columnist Jacki Raithel at

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