A recent culture trend has inspired Mason Student Government to put their own spin on the movement known as flash mobs. Instead of gathering people to spontaneously dance in a public place, professors will be performing unprompted lectures on different subject areas.
Similarly to flash mobs, the lectures will happen at random times around campus with only a slight warning. Student Government will be announcing the events with slight warning of 20 to 30 minutes through social media. Twitter hashtags and retweets will be used to spread the word, as well as Facebook statuses.
The idea of conducting flash lectures began last spring after Provost Peter Stearns suggested the idea. Other nearby universities that were participating in similar event inspired him to bring the lectures to Mason. From that point, Leslie Cook, a former member of Student Government who recently graduated, began this student-lead initiative. She created a major success amongst the Mason campus. Successes that Phil Abburscato, student senator of Student Government, is continuing this fall with a new set of lectures.
Based on last years turn out, a few students attend the lectures because of the social media announcements. However, the majority of the crowd is drawn in when they are walking across campus. “It’s an atmosphere I would describe as curious listening—what is this professor talking about in the middle of the quad? Why are other people standing around him/her? I’ll listen in…” describes Student Body President, Alex Williams.
As a result of the upcoming Presidential election, the flash lectures for this fall will be election themed. Listeners will be able to absorb information regarding key issues of policy and politics through right on Mason’s campus.
“I would also like to schedule one or two “flash debates” of sorts between professors as a means to discuss both the viewpoints and platforms of the major parties in the upcoming elections,” said Abburscato Students, faculty, and other interested parties should look for these events from October, leading up to November sixth.
Besides assisting the Mason community in making an informed decision on November sixth, the flash lectures may demonstrate other benefits. “I think it also allows students to appreciate the dedication of many professors here at Mason. They don’t work a 9-5, clock in/clock out shift; many are here at odd hours, passionately working on their research and classes. Flash lectures provide a fitting illustration of this passion,” said Williams.
Students will soon be seeing the first flash lecture of the fall semester, while gaining the opportunity to expand their knowledge on current events.
“In the end, the purpose of these events will be to excite the student body about the upcoming election and educate them on the issues and platforms of the major party candidates,” said Abburscato.