Students Break Social Norms By Jessica Liptak How often are students told to do ridiculous things in public? That isn’t considered normal for a college class, but Intro to Sociology SOC-2301-02 is no ordinary class! Dr. Alison Simons, Assistant Professor of Sociology, had students wear outfits breaking the social norm of a college student (pictured above). Then the students were asked to break social norms in public places. For the in class project, some went out of their comfort level. Including males even wearing dresses! Dr. Simmons explained why she had students break social norms in public. “The purpose of the experiment, hmmm! Well, it is to show you the rules we live by every day without even consciously being aware of them. It demonstrates very effectively how we all conform to society and how difficult it is to go against societal norms, even just a little. And it obviously amuses your professor when you bring back the stories!” said Dr. Simons. For this University College Day session, students explained the definition of social norms and then shared stories of norms which they broke. Some were humorous, like wearing your undergarments on top of your clothes and walking around downtown Fort Worth. However, others were disappointing and convicting of how we treat others if it is out of the social norm for us. Abbey Borghee, a sophomore political science major, participated in leading this session. As part of the class assignment, Borghee broke a social norm by wearing a hijab into a non-denominational church service. Borghee said that she was disappointed by the negative reactions she received, hoping that the church members would reach out to her. “Upon many things, one thing that stood out was the fact that no matter how far society has come, so many people are still quick to judge and are unwilling to look past the physical in most cases,” said Borghee This session was clearly a popular place to be, the room was packed. Students and professors filled every chair, sat on the floor, and were standing in the hallway outside the classroom door. Jonathan Bravo, a sophomore exercise science major, attended the University College Day session on social norms. Bravo said, “I learned a lot from this UCD session. Being abnormal is something we try to avoid, however I was reminded that it’s not always a bad thing.” This session was a fun time for all who participated, whether they were presenting or listening. All who took part were taught a great lesson on social norms and how we let them affect our lives everyday. This session was a fun time for all who participated, whether they were presenting or listening. All who took part were taught a great lesson on social norms and how we let them affect our lives everyday.