Lame Attempts at Making People Smile (L.A.M.P.S.)

    By trying to be memorable, all these T.R.A.I.N., W.A.V.E., F.I.S.H. people have totally undermined their mission. Locomotive, surf and seafood enthusiasts who add their names to a Library Walk signup sheet will be sorely disappointed to find themselves spammed on a listserv that has nothing to do with their interests, while students who are actually into volunteering and international service will likely overlook those clubs’ alter egos and avoid them altogether.

    Even those groups that have mastered the acronym balance ‘mdash; choosing both a name and acronym that relate to the club’s purpose ‘mdash; still end up with kind of lame names, like Students Taking the Initiative To Crochet Hats. Sure, S.T.I.T.C.H. is an alright abbreviation. It’s cute sounding and reminds you of crafts, and crochet enthusiasts looking to join a student org will recognize the term and know to join. But what does the name even mean?

    ‘Hey Hadley, what are you doing this weekend?’

    ‘Well on Sunday I have to work, but on Saturday I’m taking the initiative to crochet hats! It’s going to be pretty awesome. You should take the initiative too.’

    Clubs like this should just commit already. If you want a cute and catchy name, give yourself a cute and catchy name. I mean, if you want to be the Stitch Club, just be the Stitch Club ‘mdash; people will figure it out.

    But this obsession isn’t limited to student orgs. Our elected officials love acronyms too. A few years ago, Tritons passed the Promoting Understanding and Learning through Service and Education (or P.U.L.S.E.) referendum to support the equally vague Student Promoted Access Center for Education and Services (S.P.A.C.E.S.). Now everyone pays a fee to this center, the purpose of which is pretty nebulous. And the center’s Web site doesn’t do much to clear things up ‘mdash; the ‘ourstory’ section gives no description of S.P.A.C.E.S. or why it’s even necessary, and instead insists that a majority of the student body approved the referendum (actually, only a majority of the 22 percent of students who voted approved the referendum).

    Even the federal government loves acronyms. The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act or Patriot Act) is the zenith of absurd acronyms. Unfortunately, like S.T.A.N.D. and W.A.V.E., the U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act’s name gives only vague insight into its mission.

    Sure, it’s just a name, but what if rather than reading the Guardian, you were reading the Getting Up And Reporting ‘Diego Intellectual Activities Newspaper? That would be ludicrous.

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    People love to use acronyms. This is because by choosing a name for your club/party/legislation that yields a snappy acronym you can 1) disguise your fundamentally pointless and probably lame pet project as something cool, and 2)’ attempt to retain legitimacy with a bureaucratically jumbled title.

    As California’s southernmost headquarters for super-clever college-types, UCSD ‘mdash; which rebranded itself this year as UC San Diego, partially because ‘UCSD’ is just a regular abbreviation, not a smart-sounding buzzword ‘mdash; also loves acronyms. At first glance, a list of student orgs looks as dry and vague as a monotone chem lecture: Innovative Design ‘amp; Engineering Applications, Students Taking Action Now: Darfur, Friends Understanding Needs, Warren Association of Volunteer Enthusiasts, Truly Raising Awareness for International Needs, Pre-Medical Association of Students for Service, Fellowship of International Service and Health.

    But put on your cereal-box acronym goggles and you’ve got an action-packed catalogue of super-awesome clubs: I.D.E.A., S.T.A.N.D., F.U.N., W.A.V.E., T.R.A.I.N., P.A.S.S., F.I.S.H. ‘mdash; who wouldn’t want to join?!

    The thing is, while Innovative Design ‘amp; Engineering Applications may generally relate to an ‘idea’ concept on some level, F.I.S.H. has absolutely nothing to do with fish, fishing, aquatic life or even the coast. Yeah, kind of misleading.

    By trying to be memorable, all these T.R.A.I.N., W.A.V.E., F.I.S.H. people have totally undermined their mission. Locomotive, surf and seafood enthusiasts who add their names to a Library Walk signup sheet will be sorely disappointed to find themselves spammed on a listserv that has nothing to do with their interests, while students who are actually into volunteering and international service will likely overlook those clubs’ alter egos and avoid them altogether.

    Even those groups that have mastered the acronym balance ‘mdash; choosing both a name and acronym that relate to the club’s purpose ‘mdash; still end up with kind of lame names, like Students Taking the Initiative To Crochet Hats. Sure, S.T.I.T.C.H. is an alright abbreviation. It’s cute sounding and reminds you of crafts, and crochet enthusiasts looking to join a student org will recognize the term and know to join. But what does the name even mean?

    ‘Hey Hadley, what are you doing this weekend?’

    ‘Well on Sunday I have to work, but on Saturday I’m taking the initiative to crochet hats! It’s going to be pretty awesome. You should take the initiative too.’

    Clubs like this should just commit already. If you want a cute and catchy name, give yourself a cute and catchy name. I mean, if you want to be the Stitch Club, just be the Stitch Club ‘mdash; people will figure it out.

    But this obsession isn’t limited to student orgs. Our elected officials love acronyms too. A few years ago, Tritons passed the Promoting Understanding and Learning through Service and Education (or P.U.L.S.E.) referendum to support the equally vague Student Promoted Access Center for Education and Services (S.P.A.C.E.S.). Now everyone pays a fee to this center, the purpose of which is pretty nebulous. And the center’s Web site doesn’t do much to clear things up ‘mdash; the ‘ourstory’ section gives no description of S.P.A.C.E.S. or why it’s even necessary, and instead insists that a majority of the student body approved the referendum (actually, only a majority of the 22 percent of students who voted approved the referendum).

    Even the federal government loves acronyms. The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act or Patriot Act) is the zenith of absurd acronyms. Unfortunatel
    y, like S.T.A.N.D. and W.A.V.E., the U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act’s name gives only vague insight into its mission.

    Sure, it’s just a name, but what if rather than reading the Guardian, you were reading the Getting Up And Reporting ‘Diego Intellectual Activities Newspaper? That would be ludicrous.

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