The pandemic has been hard on young people trying to get an education. Most universities have moved some or all of their classes online and it’s impacting the entire college experience that is considered an American rite of passage. One demographic is particularly hard hit by the difficult lack of keggers in their lives: rich kids. Don’t worry, though, because some other rich kids have created a COVID-free college experience that promises to help everyone deal.
The U Experience is a start up created by two Princeton grads whose goal was to create a coronavirus-free learning bubble in which students can frolic unmasked, Buzzfeed reported. Lane Russell and Adam Bragg, the co-founders told Buzzfeed that they have "spent the last four months perfecting all of [their] logistics and programming." Because, sure, four months is definitely enough time for two entrepreneurs — who are neither scientists nor educators — to figure out how to solve the educational disaster the pandemic has created.
But learning is not actually what The U Experience is about. Yes, students will take classes, but they will not be taught on U’s temporary campus. Instead, 150 handpicked students from different universities will continue to take their usual online course load. What does The U Experience offer to enhance students’ education? Allegedly, there will be several pools, hot tubs, a golf course, and social activities, all in an environment that promises to stay COVID-19 free.
How’s that? Well, the U Experience is basically creating a giant pod of young people that will be located at the Tanglewood resort in Texas. Students will be asked to get tested before their arrival, to quarantine once they arrive, and they will not be allowed to leave for the duration of their three-and-a-half month semester, reported Buzzfeed.
“The resort is extremely secluded,” Russell told the outlet, noting that the “campus” will have 24 hour security. "As long as we can control inflow and outflow, we can be pretty confident that students won’t be exposed to the [outside] community or anything," he said. Yes, because young people are known for their strict adherence to rules and social contracts, especially when they’re drinking. And yes, they will be allowed to drink — following local municipal guidelines — of course. What could possibly go wrong?
In case you’re wondering, it costs about $10k (for a “semester,” January to April) to be part of The U Experience and more like $15k if you want to eat three meals a day. That’s on top of the cost students will still have to pay to the actual universities they are attending. "Participation in The U Experience is a membership to a safe, contained, and vibrant community, where students will have access to a packed schedule of fun group events.” Russell said in a press release. In other words, this is an immersive members-only vacation for budding disaster capitalists with perhaps a little learning as a treat.
The website for The U Experience affirms its commitment to creating a diverse, inclusive environment, but the few existing member profiles show predominantly white women who look like they took their pics at the legendary Fyre Festival. I mean, honestly, if these guys are trying to hoodwink some 1 percenters out of their cash, I’m not totally opposed, but I do hope that all the profits of their criminal activity will be redistributed equitably to real students.