Supply and demand

The quads filled up Monday for the first day of classes as students zigzagged across the paths, coffee cups and laptops in hand. In the University bookstore, student after student asked, “Is this the line?” as their eyes followed a queue that stretched through the bookshelves, past the calendars, and halfway up the stairs.

For the ever-popular Introduction to Microeconomics, more than 160 students crammed the first-floor lecture hall in Cummings, some sitting on the stairs. First-year Natalie Doss, who was hoping to pink-slip into the class, said simply finding the building had been an ordeal. Everyone she asked for directions said, “Oh, you’re totally in the wrong place,” Doss said, then pointed her to a different corner of campus. Finally, someone said, “It’s in the hospital,” where Doss eventually got the right directions.

Once she arrived, Doss faced a second trial. Economics senior lecturer Allen Sanderson asked the class how he should fill the 20 remaining spots in the course, capped at 120. Students suggested using seniority, an exam, or seriousness about economics as criteria for entry. Sanderson jokingly added violence (throwing 20 chips on the floor and letting students duke it out) and divine intervention to the list. “I could pass the list to Alison Boden, dean of the chapel, and say, ‘Here are the 20 names—who does He want in?’” In the end, Sanderson said he would take those students who had e-mailed him beforehand. Doss thought she would make the cut.

Jenny Fisher, ’07

Rosenwald_thumb.jpg CobbWalk_thumb.jpg RegGuy_thumb.jpg

Photos (left to right): Students avoid construction between Rosenwald and Swift, make their way to Cobb, and start on homework already in Regenstein Library.

September 26, 2006