Bright Ideas

Higher Ed Hijinks 2017



In this special double-episode, Ken shares hilarious highlights from last year’s April Fool’s Day around the world. If you’re curious, looking for laughs, or seeking inspiration for your own pranks this April, check out the collection!

Some colleges and universities put real energy into prank media releases, hoax videos, or absurd webpages each April First. Last year, in “Ten Kinds of April Foolery,” we inventoried the basic categories, from minor name changes or new mascots to outrageous infrastructure announcements or bizarre new program offerings. We also analyzed the typical structure: begin with something almost reasonable, build credibility with authoritative sound bytes, pile on the absurdities and puns, and finally (often) deflate the whole hoax.

On April 1 2016, we carefully monitored thousands of higher ed news releases and video feeds, and here are some of the highlights we found. (This summary doesn’t do the jokes justice at all – watch the episode!)

Thompson Rivers University tweeted that they were dropping the “S” from their name.

Ohio State University’s colours were being renamed “ruby and porpoise.”

The University of Oregon announced an incredible upgrade to their playing field.

SAIT Polytechnic almost unveiled their new visual identity. (But not quite.)

Bryn Mawr College launched a replacement for campus email, Bananagrams.

Biola University Math professor Matthew Weathers got into a tussle with his videotaped self.

Sheridan College announced a new Bachelor of Modern Media Consumption degree.

Lethbridge College unveiled the Canadian Centre for Excellence and Innovation in Northern Hemisphere Coffee Bean Cultivation.

Simon Fraser University released the new Canadian taste sensation, Poutine Lattes.


Kwantlen Polytechnic University announced a partnership between their Farrier program and campus security.

SAIT Polytechnic became an official “Kitty Campus.”

Duke University added a squirrel video to their homepage.

The University of Nottingham built an urban gym for tubby squirrels.

York University’s Glendon Campus announced a new Wildlife Communications program.

Canadian Mennonite University launched a new major in Equestrian Studies.

Acadia University announced that livestock would return to the campus farm.

Iowa’s Luther College added sheep and goats to its grounds crew.

University of Victoria announced mixed results for their interactive petting zoo in the campus library.

Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast created dragon eggs.

Oakland University brought grizzly bear cubs to campus.

The Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum announced a one-day tribble breeding program.

Campus Infrastructure:

The University of Saskatchewan held a lottery for a luxury loft on campus.

Durham College got an interdimensional portal.

Langara College’s demolished its famous rock to make room for a park bench.

West Virginia University replaced stone staircases with weatherproof escalators.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison installed pneumatic tubes to bypass elevators.

MacEwan University installed magical staircases.

The University of Glasgow installed a “helter-skelter” inside its historic clock tower.

Oakland University was repurposing miles of underground tunnels.


Dalhousie University announced “Dal-Kea” furniture.

The CERN LHC uncovered music inside the Higgs Boson.

Library & Archives Canada acquired the journals of Wolverine.

Oberlin College replaced student pics with preschoolers.

The University of Rochester went full-on Harry Potter.

Fanshawe College’s library was closing to become a movie theatre and Starbucks.

Best of Show:

The government demanded UK universities rent out underused space to AirBnBguests.

The “Fortunate 500” ranked world universities at completely random.

The University of Florida and Florida State University announced a merger, in the tiny town of Perry.

Virginia Commonwealth University launched their “Tats, not SATs” program, requiring tattoos for admission and graduation.


To watch the originals of any of the videos excerpted in this webcast (at least, those that are still on YouTube), check out our playlist.

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