Seniors excited to get off email lists
During his freshman year, alleged senior and computer science major Tom Tow went hog-wild at his first Augustana activities fair.
“I just thought, you know, ‘new school, new me,’” he said. “I signed up for everything: Augie Green, SALT, chess, Campus Ministry, you name it, pal. My name was on the list. I even signed on for theatre!”
Yes, the computer science major attempted theatre. And he hated it.
“Along with discovering that I couldn’t act, play chess, pray or give a crap about sprouts, I found two new emails from some club or another every time I checked my phone,” he said. “And, three years later, I’m still getting them. I got, like, 40 last week, no joke.”
Tow said that, at this point, he’s just waiting for graduation—not for the degree, but to escape the emails. And he’s not alone.
Self-proclaimed senior and “turfology” major Bailey Nelson said she’s desperate for graduation because the emails have been giving her ulcers.
“My boyfriend never texts me back,” she said. “So whenever I get an email I think it’s him, and I get all excited just to find out it’s the Augustana Bookstore announcing yet another sale. Then I just boil. I start hulking out. I’m thinking about becoming a Luddite. They can keep my degree.”
Sophomore Clair Hammerschmidt, creator of Augustana’s ‘Knit with Grit’ group, said she has to send out emails. It’s the only way she can nab her fellow student’s attention.
“Of course we pester ‘em,” she said. “No one shows up if we don’t. Yeah, well, sure they come in to opt-out of the emails, but I can still mark that in my log. You know, it’s a way to keep the numbers up.”
Hammerschmidt said she sends, on average, eight emails per day announcing the group’s next meeting. She also posts roughly two invitations to her blog “Thread by Thread” per day.
She and many other club leaders use programs that automatically send emails based on a format already created by the user. They are literally email machines.
Philosophy professor and all-around lean guy Stephen Minister has received emails requesting he join the Guns and Man Buns Weightlifting Club. He said he spirals into an existential crisis every time he receives a new email.
“I just don’t get it,” Minister said. “I’m not sure if they’re aware of my hair situation, or lack thereof, but they just keep sending them. Every hour or so a new one will be in my inbox, staring me in the face.”
Minister and several students have gathered more than 250 signatures, the bulk of the signings coming from juniors and seniors at their wits’ end, petitioning President Rob Oliver to step in and make a statement encouraging groups to send fewer emails or use a different method of communication. But feedback has been slim at best.
In an email statement on March 28, Oliver said the email controversy was too difficult for a lame-duck president to resolve.
“Because the tumult over the emails has culminated to its apex, I feel it is my responsibility to hold this issue for our esteemed incoming President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin,” he said. “But I congratulate all faculty and students who revealed their concerns over the emails. I can not stress enough that activism such as this is exactly what our campus needs.”
In an interview on March 29, Oliver said he didn’t really want to touch the “sticky wicket.” He said he had bigger “fish to fry.”
“You know, you just come to a point in your career when the days and problems just sorta blur into one another,” he said, pulling himself from his desktop full of photos of Cancun and mai tai recipes. “You know, man, it’s just like that quote about the definition of insanity, and jazz like that. But, yeah, so the email thing. Yeah, I think Sandlin can take care of that herself. I have other plans.”
It is projected that Herseth Sandlin, to the dismay of many students and faculty, will try to avoid confronting the problem as long as possible so as to not step on anyone’s toes during her first few years.