HYDE PARK, BUT NOT REALLY – For the first time in its history, the majority of the incoming class at the University of Chicago could not determine which way was north on a map of Hyde Park, the University’s College Programming Office announced Monday. Incoming first years took the survey which produced this insight as part of Orientation Week, which in 2020 became virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The College Programming Office said in a statement that it had offered the survey to “collect evidence that despite obvious challenges, Orientation Week was proceeding successfully.” However, it found none; other findings from the survey are similarly disturbing, if unsurprising. Nearly 60 percent of students identified the lake near campus as Lake Superior. The average first year had met only one other member of the Class of 2024 in person.
“This just goes to show why remote learning is so challenging,” Chloe Binder, the College’s Director of Orientation, told reporters Monday. “Even if we succeed in preparing students for the academic and social rigors of college, we can’t teach them which way’s north. And it’s called Orientation Week for a reason. After we’re done, if first years can’t navigate Hyde Park without a compass, we haven’t done our job.”
In related news, the University announced that Campus North Residential Commons would be renamed this year, “probably after Kenneth C. Griffin, let’s face it.”