What’s college without casual sex, spring break, and keg parties?
It’s One Day University, which attracts otherwise-sane adults to revisit the worst of times on campus: sitting in a lecture hall.
Granted, these are no ordinary lectures. One Day University classes (which are just that — one day long) are taught by the cream of academe: Harvard, Yale, Brown, Columbia, Princeton.
Also: no exams or term papers.
One Day U. cofounder and president Steven Schragis spent five years as national director of the Learning Annex, the largest adult-education company in North America. Before that he was publishing director of Spy magazine.
While attending parent’s day at his daughter’s university, Schragis says, he was surprised to see how many parents (even grandparents) were thrilled with the idea of being on a college campus. He read their minds: “They’d rather go to college than pay for college.”
In September 2006 he and cofounder John Galvin held their first class.
“We know most people don’t have time to make a semester-long commitment,” Schragis says, “nor do they want to. That’s why this concept works. We’re an Ivy League education condensed into one day.”
One of the initial challenges was conveying the right message to the public. “The program One Day University offers is unique — quite different than other lecture series or continuing-education programs,” Schragis says. “It takes more than a small ad or 30-second radio commercial to explain.”
The solution: big ads and 60-second commercials. Duh.
One Day University holds sessions at various institutions in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Each session includes four classes of an hour and 10 minutes each.
Schragis credits the program’s success to its tweedy appeal. “At One Day University you won’t learn how to run a business, lose weight, or make millions in real estate,” he says. “You will rediscover the joys of exercising your brain.”