posted by Matt W on August 23rd, 2013

Earlier this week I went to a presentation at the University of Tennessee featuring Bill McKibben, author of the book, Eaarth. The freshman class at UT had all been assigned this book as summer reading, and this presentation was a kick-off event for the year. Recently there have been numerous articles written about how this class of college freshman is the most disengaged group of students entering college ever. Having sat through the presentation, I will have to concur with this assessment. While there were many interested onlookers, most were not. I gave the “dad-eye” to many nearby students trying to get them to just stop talking, but to no avail. Most had their phones in the hands the entire presentation. When asked repeatedly to stay in their seats during the question and answer section of the presentation, well over half (a few thousand) filed out of the coliseum. But the most distressing part of the evening was actually the rude and self centered questions the students asked the presenter. My “favorite” question was, “As this entire freshman class was FORCED to purchase your book, what are you going to do with all OUR money?” The other questions weren’t any better. To the presenter’s credit, he did an excellent job of answering all questions in an excited and engaged manner, “Well I’m really excited you asked because all the proceeds from this book are going to 350.org…” Let’s just say I was not a part of the proud Vol alumni that day; I left embarrassed.

Later in the week I was listening to a presentation given by an architect at Georgia Tech. He proudly showed the recent freshman convocation speech from a sophomore at Georgia Tech to start his presentation. Apparently it has gone viral on YouTube. It made me feel a little better about our future. You’ve got to love nerds. Here is a snip for your enjoyment.

 

Have a great weekend.



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