APRIL FOOLS’: This article was published as part of The News-Letter’s annual April Fools’ edition, an attempt at adding some humor to a newspaper that is normally very serious about its reporting.
In a shocking turn of events, the University announced yesterday that all first-year engineering students will be required to take physical education classes starting in fall 2023. That's right, folks — engineers will now be required to work on their physical fitness in addition to their technical skills.
According to Ed Schlesinger, dean of the School of Engineering, this decision was made in response to growing concerns about the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the engineering job market.
In an interview with The News-Letter, Schlesinger explained the decision.
"AI is taking over everything these days, including engineering jobs," he said. "To stay competitive, engineers need to be more than just smart — they need to be physically fit and mentally resilient. This new requirement will help them develop the skills they need to succeed in all aspects of their lives."
The University is already working to develop physical education classes tailored specifically to the needs of engineering students. Jennifer S. Baker, the director of athletics and recreation, has promised a variety of options, including K-pop dancing, yoga and even parasailing in the Inner Harbor. Certified instructors and gurus will lead the classes, ensuring that students are in good hands.
If students aren't interested in these classes, they can still fulfill the new requirement by joining existing sports teams and clubs.
Schlesinger emphasized that this new requirement is not just about building muscle — the focus will also be on developing mental resilience and teamwork skills.
The physical education mandate will be implemented starting with the Class of 2027, but some current students are already expressing their excitement about the opportunity for incoming newbies.
Jenna Baskets, a sophomore who plays for the women's club basketball team, shared her opinion in an interview with The News-Letter.
"I think it's a great idea," she said. "It's a chance for sports clubs to recruit new members. One of our engineering students has built a model which predicts a 5x enrollment next semester once the initiative is in place."
However, not all students are thrilled about the new requirement. Some have voiced concerns that it will put additional pressure on their already busy schedules.
In an email to The News-Letter, senior John Kant-Descartes shared his hesitance.
"I'm not sure how I feel about it," he wrote. "The initiative may fall into the pit of paternalism. I think that students should have the freedom to decide how they want to spend their time."
Despite this concern, the University is moving forward with its plans. In fact, there are even rumors that the University is considering a partnership with WHOOP, a popular wearable tech company known for its fitness trackers. Students who take physical education classes will be given the option to wear WHOOP's newest models, which provide personalized fitness recommendations based on collected data. The University has not commented on these rumors.
Other potential concerns include coach-athlete romances and body image issues that could arise from the focus on physical fitness. However, for now, many students are taking a wait-and-see approach, curious to see how this new requirement will impact the college experience for future classes.