Students should not embrace WVU party reputation
Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 00:09
We’ve all been on the PRT or walking around campus on a Monday morning and have overheard people describing the wild weekend they had. It doesn’t matter specifically how they describe it, but typically, their stories include words and phrases such as "hammered," "drunk off my a--," "s--t-faced," "belligerent," "team blackout" or "shmacked."
Not too long ago, I didn’t know what being "shmacked" meant. After a little research, I found YouTube videos titled "I’m Shmacked." What immediately caught my eye was that at least two of the videos featured WVU. As I watched the videos of students lighting things on fire, smashing glass out of car windows, falling down and draining kegs, I couldn’t help but find it funny. It was classic Morgantown.
As an upperclassman at WVU, I’ve personally witnessed many of the events showcased in the "I’m Shmacked" videos. I’ve laughed at the drunken facial expressions, the outfit choices and the general craziness being enjoyed by hundreds of students. I don’t think there is anything funnier than watching drunk people, and the bars and clubs of downtown Morgantown give you many options for your weekend entertainment. But as I watched them for a second time, only one thought came to mind: Thank God I’m not in these videos.
With the WVU "I’m Shmacked" videos gaining national attention, my feelings of relief for having not been in the videos only grew. People everywhere were talking about the "party school" I attended. Family members kept calling to comment on how disgraceful the videos were and asking why I chose WVU to further my education. I slowly began to realize the impact of the entire situation.
I couldn’t help but begin to question how "great" these videos, and the publicity that came with them, were. More and more thoughts began to stream through my head.
Was the university going to take action and put more rules and regulations into effect? Would they target individuals in the videos for punishment? Is this going to affect my chances at getting a job when I graduate?
The idea of going into an interview and having a prospective employer bring up the WVU "I’m Shmacked" videos scared me senseless. Not to mention that on the same YouTube page as the "I’m Shmacked" videos were suggestions to watch other videos featuring WVU students rioting against a university police officer and lighting dumpster and couch fires.
It doesn’t even matter that I’m not in any of these videos. The overall reputation of WVU is what my future employers will be interested in. While the rest of the student body was reveling in these drunken party videos, I was silently worrying about my chances of getting hired in less than two years. All I could think about were the countless stories I’d heard of people not getting hired because their employers had found pictures of them holding a beer on the Internet.
If pictures could keep people from getting jobs, a four and a half minute video was really the kiss of death. I was hoping that with enough time it would all pass and be forgotten. And then I heard that the "I’m Shmacked" crew would be returning for Fallfest 2012.
I’m not going to say that I think the University should become any stricter or try to ban the "I’m Shmacked" crew from returning again in the future. I’m also not going to say I approve of all of the actions of the students featured in the videos. I truly believe that everyone is entitled to their own decisions. They will have to deal with the consequences of those actions, which may be sooner than later for some, especially if your parents caught the video on Good Morning, America and saw you shot gunning a beer.
Although it doesn’t excuse the behavior exhibited in the videos, the truth is "I’m Shmacked" publicized private parties, and the media made sure the entire nation saw it. I think the real question everyone should be asking is why the media will publicize something like "I’m Shmacked" but won’t report on anything positive that WVU has done. It all comes down to what will make the news corporations money. These days, if it’s not shocking, it isn’t newsworthy. And unfortunately, WVU gave them such ammo.
With the university welcoming the largest class of incoming freshman in its history, it’s the perfect time to caution the student body about the consequences of their actions. There’s nothing wrong with going out, blowing off some steam and having a good time. But before you go out and get "shmacked" this weekend, consider how you want our University to be viewed and if you’d be willing to put your dignity and future on the line for a few seconds of drunken fame. And if you see a video camera? Run.