Are you a Wonk?

Yesterday American University launched a new marketing campaign, American Wonks. They’ve released a very well produced video introducing the idea. It’s quite long but worth a watch:

Obviously everyone in the video is very positive about the idea and their definition of wonk supports that:

wonk | noun

  1. An intellectually curious person; expert in a field: physics wonk
  2. A knowledgeable Washington insider: policy wonk
  3. Someone focused on an issue and passionate about creating meaningful change: financial reform wonk, human rights wonk, sustainability wonk
  4. American University person in the know

Other websites define it slightly differently however:

wonk (plural wonks)

  1. (derogatory) An overly studious person, particularly student; a nerd.
  2. (by extension) A policy wonk or other intellectual expert.

I really can’t imagine this working for a university in the UK. Maybe we’re more conservative – although I find that slightly hard to believe – or maybe the typical 18 year old student has a different idea of what university life is about? I hope the campaign is successful for American University – it’s certainly a very bold move and I’m impressed by a lot of the material they’ve produced to support it.