Cultural HiJack: a (hijack) survey on space repurposing

Claire Bronchick and Sarah Morse

Our group survey dealt with the concept of having student spaces on campus. 

We asked three main questions:

  1. How many times a day do you use screaming as an emotional outlet? Times a week? A month?
  2. (after explaining the concept) If a Scream Room existed, on a scale of 1 to 10 how likely would you be to use it? Would you use it alone or with friends?
  3. For research/soundproofing purposes, could you give us your best scream (we are willing to scream with or for you, if that is better)?

Performing this in front of the student center, a space that is built so it can evolve to the needs of the administration, students found it compelling to have a space specifically for their own needs that they did not believe they needed a space for. 

The sincere responses we got to the survey were the most jarring. Students who never screamed for their own benefit still greatly supported having a space that their fellow students would find useful. Even the junior class president, Zoe Abronson, encouraged us to bring our concept to student senate where she would how her full support. Unfortunately we didn’t get any faculty members to participate (looking at you David!!), but the student response was overwhelmingly positive. Almost all students who came up were very enthusiastic and willing to SCREAM with us or even alone! The best moments were when we asked if the participant wanted us to scream with them, and they would say, “No, I can handle this myself” and scream all alone. True commitment. For me (Claire), an exciting aspect was whether or not the participants took our survey seriously or as a joke. Indeed, many thought the survey was real and offered sincere critiques of the proposal. One student brought up that the space that was formerly a Pub should be used for an LGBTQIA+ space on campus and they would only support the space if we found somewhere else to put it. It was equally if not more fun, however, when someone realized it was a farce. If done again, this survey could be reformatted slightly so that the joke is immediately clear to the interviewee, maybe by posing as a farcical version of Cristle Collins Judd or creating a heightened reality with how we interact with the students.