Browse through campus life websites of major universities, and you’re likely to find the same student activities rolled out every year: trips to baseball games, local cuisine tastings and the token freshman team-building scavenger hunt.
But over the last two years, Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, has experimented with a radical concept in student activities: out with the old. And that includes the student government, too. By rule, the 20 or so students that create student events can only serve for one year.
“We take term limits very seriously,” says Rabbi Abie Ingber, the faculty supervisor of the Student Life and Leadership program. “No one can say, ‘We did it that way last year, so we should do it again this way.’ And there’s so much energy, because it’s all focused for one year.”
This year’s most talked-about event was a massive paper airplane launch from the fourth floor of the student center into the atrium below. The event raised a modest sum, which was donated to a program that purchases airline tickets for children traveling to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. “It’s this vast indoor space, and so many faculty and students have said, ‘I’d just love to cruise a paper airplane right down there,’” says Ingber. “So we thought it was a great way to get it out of our system.”