UWindsor Lance: Reading Week is not just for books

UWindsor Lance
Issue 32, Volume 85
Feb. 27, 2013
Jon Liedtke

Whether you spent it sun drenched on a beach or nose deep in a textbook, at least it was a break

Students are back on campus following Reading Week and while they undoubtedly enjoyed the time away from classes, whether or not students actually took part in any reading is an entirely different matter.

Reading week, or spring break as it’s more commonly referred to by students, finds its historical roots among the ancient Greeks and Romans who would celebrate the return of spring, the season of fertility, through the celebration of pagan rituals which paid homage to Dionysus and Bacchus, the Greek and Roman gods of

“There’s a lot of stress that comes with university. Providing reading week really helps students with dealing with the stress,” explained Mohammad Akbar, UWSA vice-president university affairs, who added that a reading week gives students an opportunity to catch up on both their studies and projects.

“In my opinion one of the reasons why students’ marks are higher in the winter semester than the fall semester is because you do have that break to catch up, finish assignments.”

According to Time Magazine, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. hosted the College Coaches’ Swim
Forum in 1938, attracting 300 swimmers and their peers from across America. Local bars capitalized on the influx of students, who would soon refer to the city as Ft. Liquordale by offering all you could drink beer for $1.50. The tradition of heading south spread from campus to campus and soon became commonplace. This helped to carve out a week of relief from classes for students across the globe.

A paper written by University of Windsor professor Eleanor Maticka-TyndaIe and University of Guelph professors Edward S. Herold and Dawn Mewhinney published in the Journal of Sex Research titled “Casual Sex on Spring Break: Intentions and Behaviors of Canadian Students” used focus groups and interviews with Canadian students who had traveled to Florida for spring break. It determined that the key elements of a spring break vacation included “a group holiday with friends traveling and rooming together, a perpetual party atmosphere, high alcohol consumption, sexually suggestive contests and displays and the perception that casual sex is common.”

“Overall, there is the perception that sexual norms are far more permissive on spring break vacation than at home, providing an atmosphere of greater sexual freedom and the opportunity for engaging in new sexual experiences,” the
paper continues.

Second-year psychology and criminology student Kayla Rae intended to complete the large majority of her schoolwork towards the beginning of the break, but soon found herself saying “l don’t have class tomorrow … I can just do it then.”

While she was able to get some work done over the break, Rae conceded that it wasn’t as much as she had intended to complete.

“Looks like I should go to Windsor early, I’ve gotten, like, zero reading done on my
‘reading week’ ” commented Twitter user @SpeneIIey.

Rae added that she saw numerous social media statuses online, such as @Spenelley’s tweet that many students were “pretty much on the same boat”
and “disappointed in their efforts.”

Some students expressed dismay that some food outlets on campus such as Tim Hortons operated at reduced hours for the duration of reading week, while The Marketplace, The Bru, Dividends, Gavel and CEI were shut down entirely.

This prompted the University of Windsor Social Science Society president to express “here are the food options students have on campus during reading week. #shameful #uwindsor #uwsa #uwindsorproblems via Twitter, which included an
attached spreadsheet displaying various hours of operation.

In 2010, the university offered a fall review week, but canceled it because administration saw the time off to be unproductive,” according to Akbar.

“Administration finds reading week to be unproductive. In 2010 when they first introduced review week as a test, students were expected to go to campus, attend events [and] speak with faculty. But I don ‘t think that was effectively communicated to students, so students didn’t show up.”

While surveys conducted by vice-provost Clayton Smith’s office showed that students overwhelmingly supported the fall reading week, Akbar said the unproductiveness of the 2010 review week has hindered any future plans for an additional one.

“I think there’s still interest in a fall reading week as long as those concerns are addressed and it really requires the UWSA and the students to fight together, to work together to come up with a really good solution,” said Akbar.

UWindsor Lance
Reading Week is not just for books
Issue 32, Volume 85
Feb. 27, 2013
Jon Liedtke
Page 7

Jon Liedtke was the Features and Opinions Editor, Associate News Editor, Advertising Manager and Deficit Consultant at the UWindsor Lance.


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