Satire: The invasive on-campus hecklers improve the quality of our lives

Your awakening (or donut) is right around the corner

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Daily Collegian (2022)

By Juliette Perez, Collegian Columnist

Editor’s Note: The following column is satirical. It is meant for humorous purposes. All interviews and individuals are fictitious.

Will the abrasive nature of campus hecklers reform the principles and values of students at the University of Massachusetts? Most definitely. If the people promoting disbelief in science or belief in a religion did not step into our paths, shout in our faces, offer free objects and use targeted guilt trip tactics, their efforts would be ineffective.

We all have those days where we must somehow minimize a 15-minute walk from Berkshire Dining Commons to Goessmann Laboratory in 10 minutes to make it in time for class, planning our route through campus meticulously and strategically. Traveling through campus like it’s Mario Kart is incredibly fun, and adjusting our paths to accommodate the traffic and hecklers never waste minutes of unavailable time. To win the game, you must perfect the balance of complete disinterest while remaining polite, in which your sanity and morals are on the line.

One student, Passi Viti, explained that she’s mastered the art of steering clear from hecklers. “I keep my eyes right ahead and casually tuck my hair behind my ear, so they know I’m wearing ear buds,” she said. According to many students, acquiring and perfecting these tactics is essential as a UMass student. Many of these seasoned veterans provided this information to new students, even desperately pleading that the tour guides provide it to prospective students.

Several UMass students have mentioned that since their two-minute run in with one of these hecklers, their lives and beliefs were transformed. One student, Gill Abel said, “After reading the 20-page packet I accepted in a bid to avoid a physical altercation, I’ve realized how science is all a farce.”

With the deliberate and tactful approach hecklers take, they can convince someone to convert their beliefs within an interaction lasting only a couple minutes! Abel later mentioned that as a biology major, he considered forgoing and switching his major. He had printed out more of the packets he had received and was handing them out in his biology classes. He promised that he was on the edge of guiding his peers to the revolutionary truth he had recently discovered.

Another student described that despite growing up in a Catholic household and graduating from a Catholic high school, her beliefs have been transformed after a run in with a preacher on campus. She recounted breaking the news to her parents on the phone. They told her they couldn’t believe how impressionable she was, and they were considering stopping her college payments and forcing her to drop out. They demanded that upon her return from school they work on her social capabilities, tearfully stating, “maybe if we had socially challenged you earlier this wouldn’t have happened! One trip to New York City, even just a casual walk out of Grand Central where all the bus tour hecklers set up is all it would’ve taken.” The student argued back, swearing she had discovered the truth, citing specific lines from the book she had been provided.

One tactic, which nearly takes down the strongest of UMass students, is the offer of Krispy Kreme donuts. Picture this: it’s 9 a.m. on Friday, and you’re walking to your weekly discussion. This week, you have a presentation, and you didn’t have enough time to eat before class. You’re walking to the Integrative Learning Center, and you hear people shouting, “Walk on over, get your Krispy Kreme donut now, and save suffering children!”

Usually, you can tune them out. But it’s early, and you’re not on your best game. It’s silent; all you can hear is the promise of a warm, sugary donut. Will the extra minute kill you? The answer is yes. You’ll get your donut, after several minutes of trying to scan the Venmo QR code to pay $4 for a single donut, for a cause you can’t even grasp because of your pre-presentation anxiety. You arrive six minutes late to your discussion and nearly miss the presentation that makes up 20 percent of your grade. Your group members who were counting on you watch you scramble to open your computer with your fingers covered in sugar, in judgment.

Juliette Perez can be reached at [email protected]