Once again faced with an overwhelming number of pre-med students, the Geneseo biology department has adopted an aggressive new policy. In an attempt to reduce the number of biology majors, students braved a Hunger Games-style contest in nearby Letchworth State Park.
“We simply can’t afford to teach so many prospective doctors anymore,” said Department Chair of Biology Richard Rye.
“We thought the impending collapse of our health care system would dissuade people, but there are actually more this year.”
According to Rye, Geneseo has always had a disproportionate amount of biology majors, but the numbers this year were predicted to be financially unsustainable.
“We normally just do it like any respectable university and let them fail organic chemistry. This year we needed something more,” Rye said.
While pondering a solution, Dr. Hazel Evergreen says she was inspired by The Hunger Games franchise. “I thought, ‘Why don’t we do what the Capitol did, except with freshman biology majors?’” Evergreen said.
“We put them all in the woods, gave them an objective that only a handful could complete, and only the kids who won could remain in our department.”
For the first round, students were divided into 24 teams and dispersed throughout Letchworth. Each team was told to find one of 12 lab stations where they were required to perform rudimentary titration exercises.
Opposing teams could, at any time, seize a station and receive credit for any progress made by the original students.
Rye assured parents that lethal force was prohibited, although hand-to-hand combat was encouraged. “We wanted to know which students were really committed to becoming a doctor,” Evergreen said. “We faculty know medical school is worse than this, anyway.”
Round two began the following morning. It was announced to each group that some of the members were carrying a noxious mold with the intent of poisoning the team.
“We planted mold vials in all of their backpacks,” Evergreen said. “We wanted the students to understand that you can’t trust anyone in this profession.”
The professors speculated that only half of each team would come out of the struggle conscious; these contestants moved on to round three.
The department said that this round was, by far, the most difficult trial. Students were led to the banks of the Upper Falls and given a phone, a list of appointment receipts and the numbers of several insurance companies. The first 50 percent to acquire adequate and fair compensation for one appointment were said to win the competition.
“We expected most of them to succumb to frustration and start pushing each other into the water,” Evergreen said. “The fall is less likely to kill you than dealing with American insurance firms.”
The biology department congratulated the remaining students; shortly after the competition, they began their studies.
“When they saw the syllabus, they were begging to go back to the woods,” Rye said.