I clearly remember my students’ faces the day I stepped into our “Hookup” Culture course; they were shocked. As a middle-aged woman, what could I, their expressions screamed, teach them, let alone understand, about “hookup” culture? I knew this class was going to be successful for them as active learners and me as the course instructor if trust was established, but I also had to be mindful of their individual life experiences. So, I started with a warning about triggers that may impact them during the semester as various topics were discussed, such as “ghosting,” weight/body image, rape/sexual assault, marginalized groups, alcohol and/or other drugs.
I then shared with them my history of growing up in the 60s to 70s and how my generation pretty much invented “hookup” culture before their generation came up with the term. Of course, I told them, each new generation thinks they are the producers of “new.” Trust is a 2-way partnership, so to model this value, I then shared with them that I am a rape survivor and that some of our course’s external resources would present this topic as part of “hookup” culture.
I am exceedingly proud of my “Hookup” Culture students and profoundly grateful for Michigan State University’s Center for Integrative Studies in Arts and Humanities for the opportunity to teach and learn from these amazing Spartans who demonstrated their individual and collective Will over the 16-week semester, with the last half facilitated via Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This book you hold (or accessed via Open Educational Resources) contains the profoundly personal narratives of some of the most amazing young adults I have had the privilege of teaching. This generation is about authenticity, more so than any other generation I have experienced, especially in terms of their gender, sexuality and sexual preferences. Read their narratives. Trust in their voices. Learn about “hookup” culture and its impact on college/university students. Use their writings to incorporate lessons into your classroom and allow your students to experience a freedom of learning that is inherent in other facets of their lives.
Denise M. Acevedo, Ed.D.
Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures
Michigan State University
College of Arts and Letters