Every day when I check the mail, I imagine all the trees that were killed for the stack of college pamphlets.

I’ve learned about so many colleges I didn’t even know existed.

Hate to break it to you, St. Olaf. Even though you’ve killed a rain forest informing me about all the special things you could offer me, I’m not applying.

If we’re being completely honest, the papers go from the mailbox to the recycling bin unless it’s a college I’m actually considering.

Believe it or not, unless I signed up to be on your mailing list, I don’t want the mail.

And then there are the emails.

“If you’re looking for a school that will get you where you want to go, look at St. Olaf.”

At least those aren’t harming the environment. But they are cluttering up my inbox, which, to me, is equally irksome.

So when I set out to write an Octagon story about environmentally friendly buildings, I thought I would contact some of my college penpals to see how “green” their buildings are.

I mean, I get so much paraphernalia from them, I figured there must be a college out there who would take 30 minutes to talk to me.

I could not have been more misguided in my efforts. I spent weeks reaching out to a multitude of colleges, and not one gave me any information.

If by chance, an actual person picked up on the other end, I was transferred from one person to the next. I always ended up in someone’s voicemail box.

It didn’t matter how many times I called, or how many different people I left voicemails with—not a single one responded.

While Reed College will send me an email inviting me to apply, explaining that “The main reason intellectual students from all over the nation and 46 countries choose us is because our high expectations bring students together,” they could not find the time to return my phone calls.

Liberal arts colleges, research institutions, private, public, religious: I tried all of them. Not a single person at a single one of the colleges I reached out to thought it worth their while to talk to me.

Honestly, the fact that those colleges didn’t respond to me said a lot more about them than any of those handouts I got in the mail.

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