On Quartercarding

Classes are going well, and I like to think I’m successfully transitioning into CALS and the AEM program! I’ll write a post about classes soon–but currently I’m excited to talk about my completion of another Cornell “must-do” activity. Namely, I quartercarded in the middle of Ho Plaza for the first time.

Quartercarding, for those of you unaware, is an activity done by extracurricular organizations to generate publicity/increase attendance at events, and is done by passing out little pieces of paper to people with the event’s vital information (e.g. description, date, price) on it. Come to campus and walk through Ho Plaza during a busy time; you’re sure to be accosted by energetic students loudly preaching about an event to you, and reaching out their hand to give you a card with information on it.

Is it annoying to people walking by? Yes. But if you’re trying to get the word out for something, nothing’s more effective than harassing people in the most crowded area of campus and awkwardly handing out little flyers.

As I’m in the Cornell University Program Board, the group that brings speakers to campus, we’ve been eager to sell tickets for our first event of the year–a comedy show put on by John Oliver of The Daily Show. Because of the event’s date this early in the school year, publicity is always important–so quartercarding is a necessity.

Let me tell you, this act can be self-esteem shattering. You run into a few types of people:

  • People that blatantly ignore you and your outstretched hand.
  • Kind people that say no thanks.
  • People that just say “NO!”
  • People that pretend to be interested, say thanks, then crinkle up the card and throw it away once they’re five feet from you. (Like I can’t see that you just did that.)

You do get the occasional person who we’ve legitimately informed, though, and who has made it all worthwhile. As someone that used to shun quartercarders…I’ve learned to be civil to them. After all, they most likely hate the encounter as much as the passer-by do, but realize it’s just something that needs to be done! I guess I’ve gained a new perspective.

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