Neff residents talk conspiracies 1 on 1

Jeff Lamson Arts & Entertainment Editor

Clones. 9/11. The Illuminati.

Conspiracy Theories 1 on 1 at Neff Hall last Tuesday covered all of this and more as resident advisors MaCi-Lee Jones and Kyle Augustine facilitated the discussions of various conspiracy theories submitted on sticky notes by residents were drawn from a bowl.

Discussions of whether Rihanna was involved with the Illuminati, Beyoncé sacrificing the real Blue Ivy for fame and the U.S. government’s alleged involvement in 9/11 ensued and at times got heated and loud. The student who brought up the Rihanna conspiracy had the crowd watch the music video for “Umbrella,” which he said have clues to the artist’s connection to such an organization.

“We want them to have open dialogue,” said Augustine, “for them to interact with each other and to learn from one another and to expand their knowledge.”

Augustine, a senior, education and history major, said that he wanted to avoid the program being like a lecture. The open submission of topics made the program interactive, and the goal, said Augustine, is to get the residents involved and send them on a quest for knowledge.

“I’ve done lecturing programs and it just – it doesn’t work well,” Augustine said.

This kind of open discussion is similar to how Augustine said he runs his classes with students. Jones, a junior and business management major said that they like to focus on the residents and that what the RAs might enjoy or want to discuss is not necessarily what the residents what to discuss.

He said that he learned of a number of conspiracy theories that was previously unaware of such as there being clones of Gucci Mane and Avril Lavigne and ways of folding dollar bills a particular way to indicate government involvement in 9/11.

“It was kind of good to expand my mind while helping residents expand theirs,” Augustine said.

Augustine and Jones said that the idea for this program came from talking to residents in Neff Hall who had shown interest in the subject. Augustine said residents in Neff Hall like to get involved and that the current group of freshmen is even more involved than last year’s.

He said that doing more unconventional programs and having more open discussions like this are part of the draw and there will be more in the future. This different approach to RA events even goes to the food, having empanadas instead of the pizza and wings that Augustine said were typical of RA events.

Ken Nepton, freshman, athletic training major, and Yannick Bowen, sophomore, sociology major, said that that in addition to the types of discussions they came for the empanadas. Though they said that since they came late they missed most of the event and listened in at the end.

Augustine, who has been an RA for four years and is the senior RA at Neff said that he has been doing events with Jones to show her how RA events are typically done. They both said that they were pleased with the program’s success.

“This is the program I’ve had the most participation and success in,” Augustine said, “so I’m really proud of the way this program came up.”

Though they sometimes had to quiet the crowd down at times, they said that this level of involvement in open discussions is something that they want. Jones said that Neff is a smaller hall and therefore has a smaller community that they are trying to cultivate with more events like this in the future.

“We don’t have as many people come out to our programs,” Jones said, “so this was a big turnout, so we’re very excited and pleased with it.”

Photo Credit: Jeff Lamson

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