Eduvation Blog

Orientation Week Winners & Sinners

Ken Steele continues his review of recent winners and sinners in higher ed social media, this time looking at orientation week highs and lows.

It seems as though sometimes O-Week brings out the worst in students, who then seek to document their exploits on Instagram and Snapchat. In Sept 2011, it was students from HEC Montreal donning blackface to imitate Usain Bolt. In Sept 2013, it was Frosh Chants at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, and at the Sauder School of Business at UBC, seeming to advocate the rape of underaged girls. In 2014 it was Engineering Orientation songbooks that surfaced at Concordia University and McMaster. The pattern seems predictable now: outrage, recriminations, apologies, resignations, sensitivity training, counselling for upset students, and a fact-finding investigation. In July 2014, a young entrepreneur started promoting Ottawa Frosh Week Kits with hyper-sexualized videos encouraging “bad decisions with good friends” and excessive consumption of drugs and alcohol. But we did find at least one O-Week social media winner: Wageningen University in the Netherlands, which staged a student event with 1,000 smartphones to capture the entire campus for a “Student Street View”.

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