Stony Brook University ‘Sharknado’ minor is April Fools’ joke
Do sharks fascinate you? Do you consider the 1996 film “Twister” a classic? Is climate change a top concern for you in the 2016 election?
Then Stony Brook’s sharknado studies minor — “designed for those most interested in the relationship between marine predators and atmospheric phenomena” — might be the right program for you.
Enrolled students complete a six-course curriculum in the university’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. You’ll learn oceanography, meteorology — and the art of the April Fools’ joke.
Despite its official-looking webpage, the sharknado studies program isn’t real. It’s the SOMAS school’s contribution to the plethora of quirky products, strange videos and social media jokes for April Fools’ Day.
The school shared information about the program on social media Friday. Those who click on the link find out that it “isn’t a real minor offered at Stony Brook University.”
The joke is a play on the Syfy network’s made-for-TV “Sharknado” movies, which feature humans fighting natural disasters that combine with man-eating sharks.
It’s not the first time the school has tried the prank, said Mark Lang, computer support specialist and social media manager at SOMAS. Officials previously posted fliers when the movies came out, but didn’t get much of a response.
Creating a Web page and using social media proved successful this time, Lang said.
“We have had a lot of people that are actually really enthusiastic about earning the minor,” he said. “Some are pretty quick to pick up that it’s an April Fool’s joke, but they’re disappointed it’s not actually real.”
That said, you can still technically minor in sharknado studies — all the courses described are real offerings, they just don’t make up an official program, Lang added.