Last week’s meeting was the first of three “The VP is In” sessions scheduled for the spring semester, and I was joined in the SGA office by a small group of students. The first part of the conversation was a summary of concerns that were expressed by members of the SGA House of Representatives.
Among other concerns, this list included: faculty holding students responsible for deadlines even when the Scholar site goes down and is not available, inconsistencies in academic advising, concerns about the class attendance policy, the Stadium Woods issue and where to put the indoor football practice facility, and the desire for a more unified and multicultural campus. It was quite an extensive list, and it is noteworthy that a number of the items on the list reappear year after year.
Before the article came out the next day in the Collegiate Times about the CollegeHumor identifying Virginia Tech as “third in the country in terms of being a slacker campus,” we discussed the fact that a reporter had interviewed me about the site. There was unanimous consensus among the students that labeling Tech students as “slackers” is totally inaccurate and not descriptive of our student body. They felt our curriculum does not lend itself to this type of description, and they noted the “top 10 schools” on the CollegeHumor list happen to be large public institutions with major football programs.
There was also a strong consensus that the CollegeHumor staff jumped to conclusions based upon the limited perceptions of some people, rather than actual data to support such a ranking. Students also commented that they would put the CollegeHumor survey in the category of a meme. By the way, that was my learning lesson of the day, as I had not heard that term before. And in case you have not, a meme is basically a thought pattern that goes viral, usually through the Internet, which is more often than not based on inaccurate and invalid information
We went on to talk about frequent communications between students and parents. I was musing about being an undergraduate in the 1960s, at time when I was lucky to talk to my parents, at most, once a week, and we generally communicated by United States mail letter rather than a telephone call. A quick survey of the students present for the session showed nearly all of them communicate one or more times each day by phone, text or email with their parents. Oh, how times have changed.