Current pop culture has increasingly more impact on today’s students. As faculty, staff, and administrators on a college campus, it is important that we recognize, understand, and reflect on what influences students so we better understand how to communicate and interact with students and help them learn and grow. Here are a series of questions we have been asking ourselves about pop culture influences:
1. GLEE is a TV show that takes an interesting approach to presenting current issues and societal challenges, often utilizing over-exaggerated stereotypes in its approach to humor and creating change. However, one wonders how the traditional college student interprets these messages - does it further perpetuate stereotypes or help break them down?
2. The Jersey Shore is an MTV production that follows a cast 20-somethings as they drink excessively, perpetuate gender roles, and approach confrontation in violent ways. Are students watching this show for its ridiculousness or are they hoping to be more like the cast of the Jersey Shore? What are students learning and taking away from watching this show?
3. Harry Potter & Twilight are both popular literature series that have been turned into movies. While Harry Potter has mostly positive messages, Twilight involves a principle character (a woman), whose entire being is focused on pleasing a man and wishing him to physically harm her (bite her). Are students consciously aware of these messages? What does this and the Jersey Shore tell women? What does it tell men?
4. Sports Center & Entourage are two of the most popular shows among college men, both of which focus on traditional definitions of masculinity. Do these impact men on campus? What lessons are they learning about what it means to be a man?
Ultimately, it is important to acknowledge what factors are influencing student development and pop culture is no exception. Through this presentation which will utilize multimedia clips, theory on student culture formation and influences, opportunities for discussion, and tips for best practice, we hope to meaningfully reflect upon and consider what effect pop culture has on today’s college students and how we can utilize this knowledge to help students.
Goals and Target Audience:
The goals of this presentation are:
1. Reflect on what elements of pop culture influence today’s students
2. Discuss how these influences impact students
3. Understand student culture theory
4. Realize the importance of university staff/faculty/administrators to intentionally engage in pop culture to better understand students
5. Takeaway ideas for how to navigate the intersection of student development and pop culture
This presentation is for any staff, faculty, or administrator on campus who is interested in learning more about pop culture and its potential impact on undergraduate students.