Messrs. McBride and Nief seem set in their ways, but one day they will shuffle off this mortal coil—hopefully at an old age and in the bosom of their loved ones. If the Beloit Mindset List lives beyond its makers, what could be done to turn it into something less worthless than it is now? Here are three ideas:
1. Collaborate with someone who knows something about college freshmen. It’s not as though there is a lack of good information about young people. The Higher Education Research Institute has been surveying college freshman for decades. The Pew Research Center has been conducting research on Millennials. Many of the publications from the National Study of Youth and Religion, like Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood, are relevant to understanding college students. Books are regularly published on college students; I’ve just purchased Paying for the Party. The Beloit Mindset List could collaborate with actual experts to produce some sort of hybrid report that would contain some factual information and throw in some of that “stuff that happened before college students were born” material that some people like.
2. Gather information from incoming Beloit College freshman. I discussed this idea in a post last month. Send out a survey to incoming Beloit College freshman and ask them about their favorite celebrities, movies, T.V. shows, and other topics that Messrs. McBride and Nief just make up now. The results of this could be interesting and it is compatible with #1.
3. “Crowd source” the list to Beloit College freshman. After a student is accepted at Beloit, they get to log in to a Mindset List forum. The students propose items to the list and other students vote them up or down in conjunction with lively online debate. It would be a great perk to attending Beloit and would produce a list that, whatever its flaws might be, would actually be produced by the people it claims to be speaking about.
But preferably, the list should just be destroyed.