Several achievements and milestones were made this year that should be noted. Steve Fossett successfully flew solo across the Pacific Ocean in a hot air balloon. DVDs were announced (and then introduced to the market in 1996). Prehistoric paintings and engravings from 17,000-20,000 years ago were found in caves in Southern France. Valeri Polyakov completed a record 438 consecutive days in space.
Microsoft’s Bill Gates released Windows 95, which laid the groundwork for the Windows operating system we see today. With the debut of the “Start” button and a multi-tasking toolbar and buttons that could minimize or maximize your window, Windows 95 was revolutionary. The release included an hour-long instructional video from Friends stars Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry, and an ad that played “Start Me Up” from the Rolling Stones. Shortly after this release Microsoft brought Internet Explorer to the masses. On the heels of these Microsoft releases CIRP asked students about their computer usage. Compared to just a couple years prior, computer usage jumped significantly. About half (49.6%) of incoming freshmen reported “frequently” using a personal computer. This jumped over ten percentage points from 1993 when only 37.8% had done so “frequently.”
Higher Learning, a film by John Singleton, was released to theaters. While it didn’t dominate box office sales like Toy Story, Batman Forever, or Apollo 13, it was a provocative film about the purpose of a college education, racial tensions, and sexual assault – critical issues and conversations that continue today. The CIRP Freshman Survey asked incoming college students about their opinions on related issues. About eight out of ten (81.6%) incoming freshmen stated that they believed racial discrimination was still a problem in America. Almost nine out of ten (88.6%) students believed that just because a man thinks that a woman has “led him on” does not entitle him to have sex with her. The majority of freshmen (85.6%) also believed that better education and more job opportunities would substantially reduce crime. And about six out of ten (63.6%) students believed that colleges should prohibit racist/sexist speech on campus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) released their first report, entitled, Bridging the gaps. In the report, extreme poverty is cited as “the world’s most ruthless killer and the greatest cause of suffering on earth.” The WHO highlights differences between first and third world countries in life expectancies, disease, and education. Calling for allocating resources more efficiently, alleviating poverty by increasing access to health care, to improving the workforce, and strengthening emergency relief and humanitarian efforts, the WHO strived to raise awareness and spark change. Six out of ten (60.7%) incoming college students stated that helping others in difficulty was a “very important” or “essential” goal. Women were much more likely than men to rate this as an important goal. With almost a twenty percentage point difference (18.8 percentage points), 69.3% of women compared to only 50.5% of men considered helping others in difficulty a “very important” or “essential” goal.
Did you know? 41.8% of incoming college students rated themselves as “above average” or “highest 10%” compared to their peers in stubbornness.
34.1% of incoming college students had overslept and missed a class or an appointment in the past year.
16.7% of incoming college students rated themselves as “above average” or “highest 10%” compared to their peers in cynicism.