Category Archives: College Fun

On the lighter side of all of this, here’s Buzzfeed’s “25 Hilarious Little Gems From Yik Yak”

A loyal EMUTalk reader (who also happens to be a departmental colleague, good friend, and someone who has sent me other Yik Yak links lately) sent me this from Buzzfeed, “25 Hilarious Little Gems From Yik Yak.”  I’m posting this here for two reasons. First, it’s funny. I realize that there are those who might say something like “THERE IS NOTHING AT ALL FUNNY ABOUT YIK YAK,” and I apologize in advance to those readers. And not all of these are equally funny, family-friendly, and/or politically correct.

Second, in my reading of Yik Yak (which really isn’t all that frequent), these kinds of posts are pretty typical. Sure, you do see ugly things like the language that characterized the infamous Yik Yak incident that has put EMU on the map for all the wrong reasons. But I think a much larger percentage of Yaks are more along these lines– or maybe a better way of putting it is most of the Yaks I have seen are attempts to be as funny as these.

And by the way, if you are doubting me about this and you haven’t yet checked out Yik Yak, what are you waiting for? As I said as part of a rather “spirited” Facebook conversation I had over the weekend, if you are in the “we need to ban Yik Yak” camp, it seems to me you ought to at least see what it is you’re trying to ban.

But in the meantime, read these. They’re pretty funny.


One last time at the NCAA Tourney: the annual (and final) you pick-em contest

As far as I can tell, this year’s NCAA “March Madness” men’s basketball tournament is basically a contest for second place: I can’t imagine anybody is going to beat Kentucky. Then again, part of the excitement of tourney-time (and of college basketball generally) is anything can happen.

Here’s a link to the EMUTalk pool– I think I have this right. As was the case in the past, it’s for bragging rights only. Sign up early and often!

EMU’s Lost Landscapes and Old Buildings


This is kind of cool: via a colleague and friend on the Book of Face, I came across “EMU’s Lost Landscapes & Old Buildings” which is on the visitypsinow tourism site. For example, this illustration is a “birds-eye map” of campus from 1868, and there are lots of other cool photos too. It’s the work of Matt Siegfried, who graduated from EMU’s historic preservation program, and it includes all kinds of interesting “fun facts” about the history of EMU and the area.

“EMU business students offer free tax preparation services for income-qualifying residents”

I saw an EMU press release about this too, but here’s a link to the mLive piece: “EMU business students offer free tax preparation services for income-qualifying residents.” The first couple of paragraphs:

Members of Eastern Michigan University’s Beta Alpha Psi honorary accounting society, and the Accounting Club of the EMU College of Business are offering a free tax preparation program students and members of the community.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance service is being offered to individuals and families with annual income less than $53,000 or $60,000, depending on their filing method. Each student volunteer involved in the VITA service is certified with the Internal Revenue Service to ensure the filings are done accurately.

Pretty cool– though the notion that there’s a student club where the idea of “fun” is preparing tax returns is hard for me to wrap my brain around.

Did my mom get a hold of Geoff Larcom’s email account, or vice-versa?

Everyone (including me) at EMU gets a lot of email from beleaguered EMU Media guy Geoff Larcom, but I think yesterday’s message about the weather was kind of a chuckler for me. With the subject line “To EMU students, faculty and staff: Take precautions against severely cold weather,” it is exactly the kind of thing my mom would have said to me and my sisters when I was a kid, certainly the kind of thing my wife and I say to our son now. Heh.

The whole message after the break, but the short version is it’s really freakin’ cold out there and EMU isn’t closing today (at least so far) because of it, so bundle up, people!

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“Responding to Offensive Posts on Yik Yak, Professors Stage Social-Media Takeover”

From The Chronicle of Higher Education from last weekend comes “Responding to Offensive Posts on Yik Yak, Professors Stage Social-Media Takeover.”  Just a very brief primer here: Yik Yak is a smart phone app that allows users to post anonymous messages to an ongoing conversation tied to a particular place. So if you sign up for this at EMU, you get “Yaks” from folks on campus at EMU.

Here’s a screen shot of what Yik Yak looked like to me this morning:


This is actually kind of a bad example because a lot of the conversation on Yik Yak is some combination of rude, silly, sexist, drunken, etc.– a lot of posts by people who are claiming to be high, people looking for sex, people using naughty words, etc. And Yik Yak has definitely been abused and a problem. As I understand it, there was a bomb threat at MSU this last semester that originated on Yik Yak. I know of at least one quite controversial Yik Yak “event” that did much to derail a class here at EMU. And as this article discusses, a lot of Yik Yak has been a problem for a lot of folks teaching at Colgate University.

However, instead of accusing the “kids today” of being so much worse than the “kids” of yesteryear (and spoiler alert– as far as I can tell, college students today are just as rude/drunken/sexist/silly as they were when I was a college student in the 1980s, and if the movie Animal House is any guide, students have been rude/drunken/sexist/silly for a long long long time) and instead of calling for the ban of the service from campus, the faculty at Colgate had a much more constructive solution. Here’s a quote:

At the end of a semester plagued by offensive social-media posts, professors at Colgate University on Friday started a campaign to bring some positivity to digital communications on the campus.

Using the smartphone application Yik Yak, which allows people to submit anonymous comments visible to other nearby users, professors posted positive messages to students, wishing them luck on their exams, praising their work, and infusing an uplifting tone into the digital discourse. Unlike most users, the professors signed their names to their posts.

“Yik Yak has been a source of aggravation for people in the campus community,” said Geoff Holm, an associate professor of biology who developed the idea to “occupy” the app. “If this is going to be something that is driving campus culture, it’s important for faculty to have a presence.”

And this:

Valerie Morkevicius, an assistant professor of political science, said she hopes that seeing professors use Yik Yak will encourage students to think before posting potentially offensive comments.

“Maybe they would not be so free in saying some of the things they say if they know people whose opinions they care about are reading,” she said. “For me, what’s really great about this idea is it’s a way we can reach out to our students where they are. Our students live in this digital world, and we can help them navigate it more responsibly. We’re using their own media to try to reach them on some different levels.”


So if you care about the Yik Yak (and frankly, I’m not sure if I care about people posting anonymously about whatever rude/sexist/drunken/silly things), go on their and wish everyone a big thumbs up on their finals.

This is kind of cute….

The 2014 Eastern Michigan University “Holiday Card:”

One more post about EMU vs. UM in basketball

Still basking in the glow of EMU’s victory in basketball over UM. I brought it up in a class I was teaching yesterday and a number of students (ones who don’t follow sports at all) thought I was kidding that EMU won in basketball against U of M. And even these students who never otherwise care about sports were happy about it all.

But for further reading, I’d recommend some of what’s in The Eastern Echo, particularly the column “Can a win over U of M improve fan attendance?” I think there are lots of reasons for the bad attendance numbers at home games– the average crowd this year so far is 840– but I think perceptions of the quality of this year’s team is just part of it. I also think a lot of it has to do with the kinds of students we have, commuting/working/returning students who just don’t have the extra time and lifestyle of students at a place like U of M or MSU. But I would agree if EMU started having a decent team that got to the NCAA tourney on a regular basis, the attendance numbers would climb.

I’ll say this: after seeing Tuesday’s game in person, I’m a lot more inspired to see some games at the Convocation Center this year. It’s a nice facility, tickets are pretty cheap (free for students!), you can pretty much sit wherever you want, etc., etc.

There are lots of pieces over at our friends Eagle Totem, including “Don’t get ahead of yourself just yet,” which is basically a cautionary piece about what the victory against U of M means. No need to be a “Debbie Downer” in response to what has to be described as a historic win (I mean, the last time this happened was 1997, which is the year my son– who is getting ready to graduate from high school– was born). But I do agree that the game against MSU will be a much better test for the Emus and a better indication about this team being “real” or not.

Finally, the other side of the “buy game” phenomenon in mLive, “Michigan’s loss to EMU includes $80K payment; total non-conference home tab comes to $387K.” Here’s a quote:

Four days after handing a program-defining victory and a check for $92,000 to New Jersey Institute of Technology, Michigan basketball cut two more losses on Tuesday night.

Along with a 45-42 defeat, U-M paid neighboring Eastern Michigan a contracted $80,000 as the guarantee for what would be the Wolverines second straight stunning loss in non-conference play.

The payouts, typically between $80,000-$100,000 for non-league “buy games,” are standard in college basketball.

Losing the games is not, let alone back-to-back.

I don’t know this for sure, but I assume that EMU does the same thing with some of the teams it beat up on at the beginning of the term. It’s just that you’re not supposed to lose games against teams you pay to play.

By the way, one of the comments on this mLive piece: “Can the church team I coach play Michigan next year?” Indeed. If my department could get together a team to lose against UM, I think we’d be happy to take a meager $40K.



“Eagles 45: Wolverines 42: Michigan stunned again in loss to Eastern Michigan”


As mLive put it, “Eagles 45: Wolverines 42: Michigan stunned again in loss to Eastern Michigan.” I haven’t read the article yet, but I was actually at the game, so I thought I’d share a few thoughts.

I went with some friends and colleagues because we were able to get tickets on StubHub for $12, and I’d never been in Crisler Arena (nice facility), so we thought “what the hell?” One of these friends was a little dubious of the value of going to see EMU be blown out by U of M. Then they lost to New Jersey Tech.

On the one hand, it was a pretty sloppy and low-scoring affair all around. I didn’t think EMU looked super-great, meaning that a lot of this game was U of M looked really REALY inexplicably bad. On the other hand, EMU did ultimately hold it together, made the stops, and (obviously) won the game. Oh, and it wasn’t some kind of game where EMU had a fluke come-back at the end; they were neck and neck the whole way.

So hey, go Emus!

“EMU men’s basketball off to best start in close to 20 years, hard work starts now”

In more positive sports news, “EMU men’s basketball off to best start in close to 20 years, hard work starts now,” as mLive informs us.  Sure, they haven’t really played anyone quite yet; the real test will begin on Saturday. The Emus are playing at Dayton (which EMU should probably beat, but we’ll see), and then Michigan followed right by Michigan State. Still, a pretty impressive start.