Stealing the T, Red Jesus and clean, old-fashioned hate. All of these are “Only at Tech.”
The Tech culture is unparalleled to that of any other school in the state of Georgia, and even the Southeast. We are a university with traditions that reflect our engineering ingenuity, innovation and even somewhat nerdier sense of humor. Yet, like everything, these traditions have a time and a place for them. Plotting ways to steal the T, for example, should be something that only takes place in the mind of a Tech student (though bonus points if one actually attempts and succeeds at it). Most of these jokes are all in good fun, yet, more and more, “newer traditions” have been getting in the way of Tech’s aura of professionalism and even safety.
An environment of professionalism needs to be encouraged and mandated within our campus when necessary. While these ideas and notions such as “Humans vs. Zombies,” stealing T’s off of signs and a complete lack of discretion for proper dress may be considered quirky to those participating in these activities, a line must be drawn between when this sort of behavior is appropriate and when it is not.
At times, Tech humor and stereotypes may imply to others that our school is filled with socially awkward nerds, when obviously this is not always the case. Those outside of the bubble may construe these activities in a negative light. As such, Tech students must use proper judgment and know when to promote a more professional image of themselves to others.
For example, last Monday and Tuesday, campus played host to hundreds of company representatives at the Tech Career Fair. In particular, this year’s Career Fair seemed to have concentrated more on proper business formal dress than in past years, due to new rules on proper shoes for female participants. However, somehow, this was not the case. Yes, one can joke about the stereotypical Tech student’s inability to put together an ensemble, but it’s the career fair. Use some common sense. Jeans, flip-flops and a T-shirt are not appropriate at all. More so, a clubbing top that looks like it came from the H&M or Forever 21 is certainly not professional. Most fashionably offensive were the students still wearing their yellow Humans vs. Zombies bandanas. It’s common sense that one should sell his or her skillset at the Career Fair, but a bright yellow bandana certainly detracts from that. If you truly want to keep your game of Humans vs. Zombies going, then keep it outside and not in front of someone who may be offering you a job.
Along the same lines, the growing popularity of the game “Humans vs. Zombies” has increasingly irked me. Over the past few years, the game has gone from a small group of people to a full-on campus event. I realize that this game is a great way for people to socialize, but lately the game and its participants have gotten too extreme in their role-playing for the game. For example, I’ve seen students toting sock-grenade holders and marshmallow guns around campus (in front of job recruiters, at that). Most dangerously, these students have taken to the streets to dodge zombie attacks, literally. The other night, I was driving home, and almost ran over a group of players who weren’t paying attention because they were dodging marshmallows. I personally refuse to go to jail or be sued because someone playing “Humans vs Zombies” decides to do a spontaneous barrel roll into the street in order to avoid a zombie attack and my car happens to hit them.
On a more legally meaningful note, the other trend of stealing T’s off of signs is another so-called tradition that I would love to see eliminated. After all, vandalism is not something to be enjoyed. Last year, a T was removed from a lighted sign from one of the entrances of campus. The sign, obviously taken down by brute force, as the removal was very messy, cost thousands of dollars to fix out of Tech’s own budget. There’s a difference between the actual tradition—stealing the T—and this. Stealing the T requires innovation and skill, and stealing T’s is nothing other than just plain vandalism.
While many of these activities are perfectly all right, the participants should realize when the behavior, act or “tradition” is appropriate and legal. Students are doing no help to themselves or to the Institute by acting without common sense and consideration. After all, there comes a point when the Tech bubble of jokes has to burst.