Today was my fourth day of work at Shenkar. The President, Prof. Yuli Tamir, has asked me to look into student dissatisfaction and try a few approaches. To this end, I conducted my first social experiment.
I woke up early and drove to the college, which happens to be not far from the house. There wasn’t much traffic.
At Shenkar, you can’t help but notice that the public spaces are somewhat grungy and untidy. Perhaps the students expect the maintenance staff to do the cleaning up, but given the amount of mess that the students leave, the cleaning staff probably have their hands full.
So I asked Dror, the CEO to help me find window cleaner, a sponge and paper. He took me down to the maintenance people and fitted me out with window spray, sponge and paper. I stood at the entrance to the college, cleaning the windows, and asked whether anyone was willing to help me out.
I was looking for several comrades-in-arms. I quickly found them. Students who were willing to help an old professor clean the dirty windows at their college.
Of course there were students who were too busy shmoosing and smoking to help out. There always are.
About ten percent of the students helped out. I consider this a high percentage, considering that many of them did have classes to attend.
Interestingly, most of the students that volunteered were left-handed!
They all scrubbed hard and cleaned really well, but it was Moshe, a first year student in industrial design, who went out on a limb to clean a dirty window at the main entrance.
So I introduced him to the other Moshe at the college and bought him a coffee.
I’m back home now, exhausted from window cleaning, but delighted that our first social experiment succeeded. Students can be motivated to help out, feel empowered and take control over their environment.
I don’t know whether you noticed, but if you go back and look at the pictures of the students, you’ll see that they actually seemed to be having a good time. This might be the start of a beautiful friendship.
Paint brushes, anyone?
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