After being pretty harsh toward Syracuse University in recent weeks, mainly based on the school’s decision to crack down on the social scene while blatantly ignoring that it shut down its sexual support and relationship violence resource center, it’s nice to give Syracuse credit for doing something cool for a change.
In order to get undergrads more involved in their education, Syracuse’s business school, the Whitman School of Management, devised a plan to split the school into four “houses” for the year to inspire a spirit of competition. Each “house” will feature “a faculty advisor who serves as a house master, and each with its own name and shield, a la Harry Potter,” according to the school’s website. The initiative, officially known as the Goodman IMPRESS Program, came out of a brainstorming session between professors, students, and alumni about ways to make the student body more attractive to recruiters. There is no official word on whether or not this session took place during one of ABC Family’s “Harry Potter” weekends, but I assume this must have been the case.
How it works is you get sorted into a house randomly, because, unfortunately, Syracuse’s billion-dollar endowment can’t buy a magical Sorting Hat. The houses are each named after streets in ‘Cuse near the business school (Adams, Marshall, Waverly, and Harrison). Certain things, like optional lectures or software certifications, are worth points, which are tallied via a smartphone app that keeps track of your points and tells you your next opportunity to earn said points. At the end of the year, the house with the most points wins a ceremonial cup and gets to have a party with Whitman’s dean, according to SU spokesman Kevin Bailey: “That also was inspired by Harry Potter–the whole idea of the house cup.”
Bailey says that, officially, the Whitman School took its cues from the long history of residential colleges at the University of Oxford, which is where J.K. Rowling drew her inspiration for the Hogwarts houses. But when parents ask about the program, he says the standard response is: “Well, you know Harry Potter, right?”
There are even cute little symbols for the houses! Not sure how I feel about the one at the bottom right, though. A Star of David in Georgetown colors? That’s offensive on a number of levels. (Georgetown is a long-time SU rival.)
But good for you, ‘Cuse! A positive headline! Way to go! Now, fix the whole “we don’t have a proper support center for sexual violence” thing and we’re all good.
[via Business Week]