Vanderbilt’s Alien Adventures

October 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Houston, we have contact.

Aliens visiting Earth: it is a scenario that science fiction enthusiasts have loved to envision for years. How would we present ourselves to them? How would society react? How should I react?  While all of these are important questions to consider, the real question is how Vanderbilt would react.

The administration would likely work out contingency plans in case of an alien emergency on campus. We would get email reports of Vanderbilt’s “alien protection plan” on a weekly basis. Their goal would be to ease the concerns of frantic parents who fear for the safety of their children in a far-away city during such a crisis. Members of the press would ask Dean Bandas for comments, and his response will be his usual, “The administration have taken the necessary measures to protect our students in the event of an alien emergency. Students should ensure that they understand the university’s policies and be on the lookout for any unauthorized alien activity, but they should feel confident with the emergency plans in place by the university.” The students, of course, would accept the Dean’s alien protection emails at face value and add them quickly to the “do not read” stack in their inbox.

Student organizations would all fight to get speakers to campus to talk about the aliens and the ramifications of the new discovery. There would be multiple competing dinner discussions about aliens every week, religious groups would host prayer sessions, and debates would be hosted by political groups regarding the proper handling of the alien invasion. Sororities would make t-shirts with alien puns on them, The Hustler would start reserving front page space for alien updates, and some fringe groups would hold meetings immediately advocating cross-breeding between species.

Professors would discuss the new alien species in every one of their classes. Even if it has nothing to do with the subject matter, they would somehow find a way to relate it back to whatever they are currently teaching, taking mental notes so they could include the aliens in their next published article. At least three science professors would claim that they predicted this. Like all major current events which professors deem worthy of discussion, this would mean additional reading and viewing requirements for class, much to the dismay of the students. Every action taken by students with regard to the aliens would be analyzed and placed in a historical and cultural context. The students would, of course, become the specimens of study rather than the aliens, and the professors would compare notes over lunch about the odd behavior they witnessed in class yesterday.

So how would the students react? My best guess is that we could expect many themed fraternity parties. Aliens and astronauts? Bro’s and UFO’s? The specific theme of each party would ensure that the women who show up are able to dress as provocatively as possible, and all of the costume shops in Nashville would have a backorder of sexy space cadet costumes. The evangelist couple would show back up at tailgates urging repentance because now more than ever the end times would be near. (See YouTube’s “Caring for the Lost at Vanderbilt” for a preview.) But yes, I think Vanderbilt students would take it as an excuse to celebrate. Certainly, none of us would try to fight them. If they made it to Earth before we made it to their home planet, it is safe to say that they are a more advanced civilization than we are. In terms of fighting, the students would guess that we wouldn’t have a chance. We would be among the first to mildly accept our fate and welcome the aliens in the best way we know how: partying.

-Libby

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