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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Scott Kull: The new Director of Athletics
Abigail Taylor, Contributing Writer • April 16, 2024

The Seniority Report

Seniority reporter Elaine Best fights off a fire alarm after making a bag of popcorn, hoping to stop the beast from crying out.
Seniority reporter Elaine Best fights off a fire alarm after making a bag of popcorn, hoping to stop the beast from crying out.

By: Elaine Best, Editor

This is The Seniority Report, where I investigate the hard-hitting mysteries of Wofford’s campus, revealing conspiracies, unveiling the truth and discovering the shocking secrets of this institution. This week, I hope to unravel the mystery of fire alarms on campus.*

*This piece may bring up traumatic flashbacks to irksome false fire alarms, so I must state as our RAVE alert systems so enthusiastically tell us, “DO NOT BE ALARM.” Anyone who feels alarm, is alarm or potentially has alarm, please do whatever we are actually supposed to do in case of an emergency (i.e. the fetal position and cry while eating Doritos).

The fire alarm systems that our dorms and apartments have keep us alive. Hypothetically.  They at least screech at us that our building is on fire or seems to be on fire or has an element of fire within it, and whether we can do anything about that once we are aware that our entire surroundings are aflame or toasty or just slightly lukewarm is a completely different story. But for the most part, Wofford students can generally agree that the fire alarms make loud noises that alert us that they exist, much like a toddler at your local Ruby Tuesday.

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Perhaps no one suffers greater than the residents of Phase V, a building so fragile and emotional that you would think it was your clingy ex calling you at 3:00 a.m. Feeling forgotten and alone, Phase V has no qualms about letting its sirens burst out in the middle of the night, the middle of the day or even in the middle of your shower.

A freshman in Greene burns their popcorn and the alarm screams. A sophomore in Shipp lights their contraband Yankee Candle (“Line Dried Cotton,” a classic) and sets off the system. An unsuspecting junior at a senior’s party in the Village innocently lights a table on fire – and the alarm denounces such actions.

Why does this happen with such frequency on our campus? I put on my investigative journalism hat to find the scoop on our touchy fire alarm systems.

My first thought was to interview Campus Safety, but that seemed too obvious. Too immediate. I had to find the truth the roundabout way so no one could suspect what I was up to. So that no one could stop me from finding the truth. The truth about fire alarms.

Do not be alarm.

My first plan was to set fire to one of the buildings on campus. I did not end up doing this for many reasons, one of them being a lack of matches or lighters in my possession, the other having something to do with prison and my fear of bunk beds. It was time for plan B.

Ditching my first two weeks of classes, I decided to live in the ceiling of four different dorms on campus, rotating my location out every few days. My mission was to seek out the source of these mysterious late night shrieks and to hopefully find a way to stop them.

My first location was Greene, third floor. Wearing a hazmat suit I found on Amazon for $23, I struggled to survive the first few hours of my stakeout. Stenches previously unknown to the human nose infiltrated my nasal cavities, wrinkling my lungs into mere prunes. I cannot speak of my stay in Greene any more. The mysteries of third floor Greene must remain unknown to the commoners on Wofford’s campus.  The boys on that hall cannot be human. I have contacted the CIA via Twitter in the hopes of having future experiments run on these students.

What I can recall from my scarring stay in Greene was that the fire alarms seemed calmed. I reason that the fire alarms here keep their peace due to the extreme chaos that lives within their halls. With a group of residents who are already insane, there is no need for the fire alarm to stir up more trouble. They have decided to let humanity run its delightful, terrifying course.

Next, I traveled to Shipp, the sophomore dorm that’s aesthetic caters more toward labyrinth than student housing. Lost in the maze of sophomore slump, I was unable to find a suitable room to hide in for the duration of my investigation. For three days I stumbled around Shipp until I was saved by a surprise source—the fire alarm. I felt relieved. Now Shippers would have to rush out of their rooms to the horseshoe, showing me the way to the exit.

A small group of sophomores turned the corner, screaming.

“Not again,” one cried, pulling his hair out. “We’ll never make it out!”

It dawned on me that even the residents of Shipp had no clue how to leave. We were all trapped, and now there was an unbearable siren blasting in our ears.

I don’t recall how many hours passed. We were in the midst of rationing out our Terrier Bucks for the long winter ahead of us when the savior arrived—Air Terrier.

The ghost dog stood confidently at the end of our hallway. His stature would have put Aslan to shame. We followed Air Terrier out of the dorm and onto the safe grass behind Old Main. There were no flames shooting out the windows or smoke rising from the roof. It was a false alarm.

A false alarm that saved my life.

I couldn’t go on to live in the other dorms I had set aside for this investigation. Meeting Air Terrier, seeing the horrors I had seen…the answer to my question was a disheartening one.

The fire alarms go off spontaneously because they are the ones in control. We have no choice but to depend on them. Holding our lives in their hands, the fire alarm breaks our will only to raise our hopes once more for the fun of it. You cannot predict this level of chaos. They are alarm. They have alarm.

We are all alarm.

 

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