BY JESSICA WRIXON
A popular college tour called I’M SHMACKED has recently had students jumping for joy and parents covering their eyes.
Making news headlines in the past, I’M SHMACKED has been uncovering the fun and excitement of partying at the top universities in the country, and its controversial content has people wondering if this is the correct way to portray a university.
When people look up the I’M SHMACKED channel on Youtube, they are bombarded with videos of hundreds of college students drinking alcohol in excess, bags of marijuana, rave concerts and raging party behavior, as well as news reports based around what the public makes of these videos, especially the parents paying for their children to attend these universities.“We’ve been featured in The New York Times, ABC Nightline, the Jimmy Kimmel Show and a lot of other national news outlets because we’re the first journalistic platform that’s going out there and getting real, raw documented footage of what happens behind the scenes at prestigious universities when classes are done for the weekend,” said the 21-year-old New Jersey native, Ben Fredette.
“I do understand how that can be scary for adults who are paying for their kids to go to school to these universities when they look online and see what really happens and watching kids on the campus doing outlandish things,” Fredette added.
What is I’M SHMACKED?
Launched in 2011, I’M SHMACKED is a nation wide entertainment platform which visits America’s top party colleges and universities, traveling from campus to campus, ultimately filming the party scene, nightlife, sports, academics and the campus itself, putting everything together into a video which is then uploaded onto Youtube, visiting over 30 universities within this past fall semester.
“I got involved with the tour over Facebookwhen they were a couple videos into starting the tour,” said Fredette. The New Jersey native who started working with I’MSHMACKED a little over two years ago stated the founder had posted on Facebookthat they were looking for a cameraman and, after e-mailing the founder, has been filming and editing for the tour ever since.“We usually go to the biggest campuses that are at the top of the party list,” said Fredette. “A lot of the fall tours are based off of football games; who has the biggest tailgate and the most important games of the season.”Another extremely popular way to have I’M SHMACKED visit a school is through one of the most important, on the rise factors of the Internet that is largely populated by youthful generations: social media.
“A lot of it is also social media response because we’ll have a thousand kids tweeting at us or posting on Facebook telling I’M SHMACKED to go to their school and eventually we’ll hear about it,” said Fredette. “If we think the show will do well, we’ll go. It’s all based off of reception.”
Since becoming a part of the tour, Fredette has filmed over 15 campuses, with Florida State University, University of Wisconsin and East Carolina University being the most favored. However, while some of the videos seem like fun and games on certain campuses, some got out of control.
In early September when I’M SHMACKED tweeted at the University of Delaware saying they were coming to the area, things got out of hand. Students that attend the university flooded the streets of Newark, Del., causing traffic blocks and out of control behavior.
While students claimed it was a good time, local police enforcement worded it as a ‘near-riot’ experience.
Negativity in the media
“Many parents know that when their children go away to college, they usually use their down time and weekends hanging out with heir friends and partying, but this is excessive,” said Donna Tirone, who has put two kids through college. “My children didn’t go to huge party schools and, even if they wanted to, I don’t know if I would feel comfortable with the idea of it. These kids being featured in the video don’t understand how this could affect their future.”
According to the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, almost 2,000 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die due to alcohol poisoning or any other unintentional injury due to alcohol intoxication and that four out of five college students partake in drinking alcohol, whether underage or 21 years or older.
“Unfortunately, underage college kids don’t think of the far reaching ramifications of drinking,” said Police Chief Edward Wrixon of the Cresskill Police Department in Cresskill, NJ. “You’re not old enough to drink, but you’re old enough to be charged as an adult which ultimately leaves you with a record.”
Not only do these college students have to worry about being charged as an adult when it comes to getting caught and arrested for underage possession of alcohol and consumption, but they disregard what consequences may come up in the future after they graduate college and start looking for a full-time career.
“Young adults have a tendency to ‘live in the moment’ and not think about the future and how one good time might affect their success when pursuing a career and entering into the job market,” said Wrixon.
The perspective of a college student
When the I’M SHMACKED tour visits schools all over the United States, there are some college students who pride themselves on making it into the video and some that just happen to land in the three to five minute videos.
“Although I’M SHMACKED definitely provided me ample resources to really get to know some universities, I definitely did not like being featured in their video because when it is released on the internet, it is public and that is not a representation I want to portray to future job endeavors for my friends and family as the YouTube videos are known are alcohol and drug usage,” said Nikki Cerone, a second year University of Miami student.
Though some students are concerned about how this may affect future job opportunities, it can also be seen as a great way to meet new people and have fun in an exciting social environment surrounded by students in a specific university community, especially with all the stress attending these universities have on students.
“I also think I’M SHMACKED provides college students with a great deal of opportunities to go out to the events that the tour hosts and meet new people throughout the academic year, providing them with a fun and exciting scene and especially a stress-free environment,” said Cerone.