April 8, 2005

Hop on the Q-Train

The University of Chicago is an intense place. Students are encouraged to go wild only once a year, during that fateful weekend in May known as Scav Hunt. But fun needn't be confined to an annual event, which is why the Maroon commends the efforts of two professors, Allen Sanderson and José Quintans (of the economics and biological sciences departments, respectively) to inject a spirit of fun into a worthy cause.

The rivalry between the two professors centers around their participation in the Skyscraper Challenge, an effort to raise money for India's Nicobar Islands, which were devastated by the tsunami disaster. While the prospect of climbing the Sears Tower for charity might seem like a solemn occasion, Sanderson and Quintans decided to turn the climb into a contest, pitting their two disciplines against each other in a hysterical manner.

Isn't it refreshing to read about performance-enhancing drugs and think about José Quintans, rather than José Canseco? (Sanderson claims that as a professor in the Biological Sciences Division, Quintans should "have good access to steroids.") Quintans has the vast knowledge of physiology and immunology to make each of his cells function at maximum capacity. Sanderson does have the economist's edge: knowing how to be efficient, how to maximize cost-benefits, and how to use the almighty dollar to get what he wants when he wants it.

Conventional wisdom suggests that the Maroon endorse Sanderson. After all, Sanderson is a professor in the discipline with the largest percentage of concentrators in the College, which has a certain populist appeal. In addition, Quintans somewhat insultingly used a copy of the Maroon to wrap a dead fish in as an unpleasant surprise for Sanderson. But that's just the sort of wackiness that will give him the edge over the economist.

Whoever emerges victorious, both Sanderson and Quintans should be applauded for their remarkable sportsmanship.