ROTB, the new Black Friday

Sara Yang

Hundreds of students arrived on campus in the early hours to camp out for Running of the Bulls.

It was four in the morning on a Tuesday during summer break there were approximately 101 high school students on the MVHS campus.  Hundreds of students subsequently trickled onto campus to camp out in line for Running of the Bulls – and more specifically, the tentative schedule changes that would accompany it.

Running of the Bulls, also known as ROTB or, previously, Safari, is organized annually by MVHS administration to get student paperwork in before the start of the school year.  After completing the paper work many students believe that they must get to the library as soon as possible to ensure a greater chance of making successful the teacher/period/class changes they desire which explains the annual early-morning phenomenon.  A random survey of 90 MVHS students indicated that 50% believed that the best strategy for getting a schedule change was to get in line as early as possible and camp out.

"We just assume it is [best to come early] because you’re first in line, so you get first priority," sophomores Tiffany Wu and Elise Chen said.
Wu and Chen were only two of the numerous students who arrived on campus hours before ROTB was scheduled to start.  These two arrived at 12 a.m. to get in line for the sophomore session at 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 18.  In an even more extreme act, junior Peiken Tien and his friend beat the crowd by staying overnight, setting up camp at 3:30 p.m. on the afternoon before their Tuesday morning ROTB at 8:00 a.m.  Approximately 250 of their fellow classmates had followed suit by 7 a.m., an hour before the actual ROTB was supposed to start.
Students passed the cold, dark hours with gadgets such as portable lounge chairs, sleeping bags, laptops, and games like Monopoly and Starcraft.

"Honestly, I feel like it’s a whole 2011 bonding thing… like a camping trip, but at school," junior Brian Thai said.  "Some people are here just to have fun."
A couple students, like juniors Richard Yu and Jason Ye, even recorded the names of people and how many there were throughout the night.  Their data was posted in a Facebook note shortly after the event, along with a line graph, eliciting responses of astonishment from peers.
Whatever the reason, administrators say that realistically, schedule changes are more likely to occur later in the day than earlier.

"I think that students believe [ROTB] is more like a shopping list shopping for an item where if you’re trying to buy a very popular video game system or something like that, it’s first come first served…  In reality, you need students to move around to be able to drop classes, to be able to get into all those classes," administrator Calvin Wong said.

According to Assistant Principal Trudy Gross, schedules have been arranged before ROTB so that in theory, the only reasons for schedule changes should be matters such as conflicting classes, course changes, or computer glitches in schedule assignments. 

"Some of the classes are a little bit over capacity because we know that kids will drop and things will move, so the classes should balance," Gross said.  "We’ve already built in that factor."

However, on the chance that there is room for change, the administration says that student needs will definitely be considered. 

"We’re not going to say no for the sake of saying no," Assistant Principal Michael Hicks said.  "We want to keep the students happy."