Every spring, hundreds of men and women clad in suits and dress shoes descend into the midst of the tanktop-bearing, flip-flop-wearing Stanford student body. The recruiters’ goal: harness students’ undirected, bohemian energy, put it to use, and help them grow the heck up.
This year was a little different, however. For the first time in the fair’s history, illicit drug gangs were among the businesses recruiting students at the campus-wide fair. “It doesn’t seem like Stanford students are bothered by unethical business practices as long as they get paid a fair wage, so we decided to give it a shot,” explained Jim Jicklesby, a sweater-vested recruiter for a narcotics dealership.
Central to Jicklesby’s and other gangs’ pitches was the notion that students would be creating positive social change with their work. Next to Jicklesby’s booth was a five-foot-tall poster with the trite slogan “Make the World a Better Place” and a picture of a meth addict’s rotting smile. The image was also plastered on water bottles, t-shirts, and Bluetooth speakers which students eagerly stuffed into their backpacks.
“I think the gangs’ mission is really inspiring,” said Anush Ayumasingh, a frosh who accidentally wandered into the fair. “People today have an emotional need for opiates and the like. By providing these products, the gangs are bringing people closer together and fostering real connections. They’re creating a lot of positive change.”
Some students have been critical of the gang’s branding as social good, but Jicklesby likens his pitch to that of other Silicon Valley corporations: “Apple, Google, Facebook, they’re all getting people hooked on their products, and people still buy them. If you ask me, Big Tech and drug gangs both improve lives because we give people more of what they want.”
The pitch, along with the compensation package, seemed to be a success with the student body. By the end of the fair, Jicklesby reported that several students had already submitted their resumé and were attending interviews with questions such as: “When have you sacrificed your vision in order to be a team player?”