Unusual courses may spice up semester load

With the pressure of completing a daunting list of graduation requirements, sometimes it is a relief for students to take a non-traditional college course, just for the fun of it.

Ice skating, bowling, fitness walking, PEG, or general physical education courses are top choices for some students seeking elective credit.

Senior Greg Trusz has taken a handful of these one-credit-hour courses at the University.”

A finance major, Trusz has taken Ultimate Frisbee, curling and bowling, all of which do not fulfill any specific requirements for his degree, but he has enjoyed them nonetheless.

‘I was really looking for kind of a release – a fun credit hour just to go and not have to worry about it too much,’ Trusz said. ‘Each class was set up a little bit differently. With bowling, we pretty much just went and played. With curling and Ultimate Frisbee, we spent a little more time actually learning the game and strategies and that stuff,’ he said.

‘There were a couple of quizzes, but nothing too difficult,’ he added.

Though Trusz recommends all three of these courses, Trusz said curling was his favorite.

‘It’s something totally unique and it’s something I’ve never done before,’ he said.

Another elective, which will be new to the University spring semester, does not require physical activity, although there is definitely a lot of biting involved.

‘Tracking the Vampire: Bloodsuckers in Literature and Film from Camilla to Twilight’ is an HNRS 4000 course, which is a special topics seminar available to students in the University Honors Program.”

While it does not fulfill general education requirements, it does count toward the 22 hours of required honors coursework for students in the program.

Instructor Heath Diehl will be teaching this course, and also came up with the topic for the class.

Diehl said he never had much of an interest in vampire literature until this summer after reading the Twilight series.

‘While I hate the books, I thought it would really be interesting to sort of trace the evolution of the figure of the vampire in literature and in film.’ Diehl said. ‘We’re going back to 19th century literature. We’re going to read the original ‘Dracula,’ we’re going to read ‘Carmilla,’ and then we’re going to also supplement that with films.’

The book list will also include Anne Rice’s ‘Interview with the Vampire,’ as well as ‘Twilight,’ by Stephenie Meyer.

‘A ton of people have shown interest in this class,’ Diehl said.

The usual cap for an HNRS 4000 course is typically set at 10, but the enrollment was raised to 20 because of the high demand, Diehl said.

There are currently 16 students registered, ranging from freshmen to seniors and from students majoring in pop culture, to health and human services, film and English.

‘I’m really excited about it because I think it’s drawn a range of students,’ Diehl said.

Sophomore Samantha Barnes said she stumbled upon the course listing as she was browsing the honors catalogue and immediately knew she had to take it.

‘It’s the class I’m most excited about for next semester,’ Barnes said. ‘I love vampires – I have since I was way little.’

As far as the Twilight series is concerned, however, the love is not so free.

‘The movies are horrible,’ Barnes said. ‘The books are pretty entertaining even though they’re crappily written.’