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Posted on Mon, Sep 10, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

'I'm Shmacked' YouTube video spotlights University of Michigan student drinking

By Cindy Heflin

University of Michigan students are the latest to star in a series of YouTube videos featuring lots of footage of young people drinking and dancing and drinking and laughing and drinking and … well, you get the picture.

The video, called “I’m Shmacked the Movie: University of Michigan Welcome Week,” was made over the Labor Day weekend, the end of the traditional period for welcoming freshmen to campus.

Its creators are college students themselves, Arya Toufanian, a junior at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Jeffrie Ray, a sophomore at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. They’re visiting colleges all over the country making “I’m Shmacked” videos. They also stage “I’m Shmacked” live events featuring music and dancing, some of which help raise money for charity.

Their goal, beyond their broader business aspirations is, to “capture what makes that school that school,” Toufanian said in a phone interview Friday.


Drinking is an established part of college life, Arya Toufanian said, and the videos he and his partner create just document that.

Katseyephoto |

So, is a lot of partying and drinking the thing that defines U-M? No, Toufanian said. He pointed to the soundtrack for the video. It’s the song “Work Hard, Play Hard” by rap artist Wiz Kalifa. Toufanian said that’s what U-M students do.

If they want to kick back on the weekend after working so hard on the weekdays, who’s to blame them? Toufanian said. He and his partner, who visited U-M last year for the Nebraska game, do mix in shots that show other aspects of campus life, but since they’re appealing to college students there’s a limit to how much of that they can do, he said.

“We’re trying to appeal to a market and no one wants to watch a video of kids playing board games and sitting in dorms,” he said.

He stressed that he and his partner, who visited U-M the same weekend several fights sent people to the hospital in Ann Arbor, don’t supply any alcohol or drugs (the video also shows fleeting glimpses of what appears to be marijuana) and don’t encourage drinking or drug use.

“We’re tourists and whatever they show us is what we film.”

Toufanian said he and his partner, who hope to eventually land a movie, TV series or book deal for the I’m Shmacked brand, have gotten some criticism because of their videos, at least partly because of the name.

The website Urban Dictionary lists a few definitions for “shmacked,” all of them having to do with being extremely drunk or high, but Toufanian said that’s not what their use of the term means at all. I’m shmacked is just a name they came up with for the company and doesn’t mean anything other than to have a good time, he said.

“Kids know that it’s harmless and parents think that it’s the devil,” he said.

The official University of Michigan response is a bit less dramatic. “It’s disappointing that someone would take advantage of these situations to create these videos that have no redeeming social value,” said U-M spokesman Rick Fitzgerald.

But Toufanian said they’re not taking advantage of anyone. He said he and his partner talk with the people in the videos about what they’re doing before they film and if someone who is in the video sees it and doesn’t want to be in it, they’ll edit that person out. And he said if they see people doing outrageous things, they’ll stop them.

In the meantime, the “I’m Shmacked” tour rolls on. A video made filmed last week at the University of Alabama will be posted Tuesday, Toufanian said. He and Ray are visiting at least one college every seven days and sometimes two, he said. They plan to visit Michigan State University in October.

You can watch the video below, but be forewarned, the Wiz Kalifa song contains potentially offensive language, including racial terms and profanity:



Tue, Sep 11, 2012 : 3:32 p.m.

While I agree with other commenters that College life only comes around once, UofM students broadcasting it like this for millions to see worldwebwide is ridiculous and shameful.


Tue, Sep 11, 2012 : 1:54 p.m.

That's a lot of photo/video release forms


Tue, Sep 11, 2012 : 12:56 p.m.

Poll needs a 4th choice, "All of the above"


Tue, Sep 11, 2012 : 2:54 a.m.

What I find most frustrating about this video is that it highlights the behaviors of a certain segment, albeit a large & vocal segment, of the student population. I'm not saying the rest of the student population doesn't drink and party, but videos such as this don't adequately illustrate the heterogeneity of student population and result in many unfamiliar with the University believing that those students & the behaviors displayed are typical of most UM students.


Tue, Sep 11, 2012 : 1:17 a.m.

You stay classy, MIchigan.


Tue, Sep 11, 2012 : 12:22 a.m.

Not a big deal, I just wish they had better taste than Wiz Khalifa. Throwing gang signs is so 2004.

Kitty O'Brien

Mon, Sep 10, 2012 : 11:25 p.m.

I feel hungover from watching that video. Ugh.


Mon, Sep 10, 2012 : 10:01 p.m.

And in other news, young adults are also having sex! Crazy, I know.


Mon, Sep 10, 2012 : 9:59 p.m.

So much for Leaders and Best!

Lets Get Real

Mon, Sep 10, 2012 : 9:35 p.m.

University of Colorado makes all incoming Freshmen take an alcohol awareness class and Boulder has strict local laws that enhance the state liquor laws. Every server must take training in recognizing the signs of intoxication, intervening to protect the patron and the establishment, and refusing service. that doesn't solve the entire issue, but education goes a long way toward reducing over the top behaviors, like those shown here. Where is Michigan, and Ann Arbor? Clearly behind in being proactive about a serious issue.


Tue, Sep 11, 2012 : 2:58 a.m.

Not saying I disagree with your comments, but UM does require all incoming freshmen to take an alcohol awareness class. Also, I'm pretty sure University of Colorado is pretty well known for being a party school. Colorado-Boulder is often ranked in the top five for party schools in the country.


Mon, Sep 10, 2012 : 9:57 p.m.

Yes, we should exactly follow the University of Colorado, especially considering their top 5 ranking as a party school. Wake up, Michigan does that too, and bartenders aren't exactly present at frat parties. Also, making stricter laws really works well too. Just ask 1920's America. Or maybe you just like throwing misdemeanors on young adults that never come off for nothing more than drinking. The horror, the horror I say!

Lets Get Real

Mon, Sep 10, 2012 : 9:29 p.m.

This is not Michigan's proudest moment. The article about the "ride-along" with the police on UM vs AirForce Weekend must have somehow missed these notorious gathering spots. I wonder if any of these kids have thought how their apperance in the video will affect employment possibilities? This reminds me of the "Girls Gone Wild" college series, sans the sex discrimination of only girls going wild. I'm so gratified to know that these upstanding young men and women will one day lead our country. Yikes!


Mon, Sep 10, 2012 : 9:19 p.m.

The drinking age is unreasonable and should be lowered to 18. Kids can join the army but cannot drink at the VFW? They can drink in other countries but not their own. We need laws that people respect, not laws that are routinely ignored by the vast majority of people. Besides, young men especially will do things just because they are illegal. Kids need to lean to drink responsibly and making it illegal discourages responsible behavior.

Robert Granville

Tue, Sep 11, 2012 : 5:50 a.m.

Ding ding ding.... We have a winner.


Mon, Sep 10, 2012 : 9:18 p.m.

"Kids know that it's harmless and parents think that it's the devil," Underage drinking is not harmless. It is involved in most sexual assaults on campus. After the death of a freshman student in a fall from the sixth floor of her dormitory the Regents discussed underage drinking; Dan Horning's comments "The majority of students who come to the University have reached the age of 18 and should be mature enough to make their own conscious decisions" "I'm not condoning police security for crashing parties. Drinking is the responsibility of the students" Horning said. Dan Horning is once again running for a position on the Board of Regents. For the most part the University of Michigan administration and local law enforcement wink at underage drinking but it is in fact a serious problem.


Mon, Sep 10, 2012 : 9:12 p.m.

Brings back great memories. Regardless of rules that you put in place to stop or lessen underage drinking, it won't work. Kids will be kids. Let them have their fun.


Tue, Sep 11, 2012 : 2:18 a.m.

the issue here, justcurious, is that these kids are over 18, so technically they're out of their parents discipline range


Mon, Sep 10, 2012 : 9:52 p.m.

Is that what you tell your kids instead of disciplining them? I would hope not.


Mon, Sep 10, 2012 : 8:54 p.m.

A month ago graffiti that included profanities was spray painted on area homes. The terms were not revealed by Now you post this profanity-filled video? I'm confused.

Kai Petainen

Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 1:17 a.m.

kyle, that sounds like a good solution.

Kyle Mattson

Tue, Sep 11, 2012 : 5:18 p.m.

Hi northside- There is a disclaimer informing readers of the video content directly above the embedded window so readers can choose to opt out of viewing it. In the article you referenced there was no way to mirror this same process as the wording would have been included in the article. For future coverage this type of process where notification can be provided to readers is one we will consider when supporting video and/or photography is available.

Kai Petainen

Tue, Sep 11, 2012 : 2:48 a.m.

you raise a valid point. there is some inconsistency here.


Mon, Sep 10, 2012 : 9:51 p.m.

I didn't watch it, but if what you say is true then someone is being a hypocrite I would think.


Mon, Sep 10, 2012 : 8:57 p.m.

Here's the article I'm referring to: And the reporter's explanation: "Every news organization sets their own standards as far as coarse language is concerned. While four-letter words are a part of everyday life, we feel they didn't have a place in this story. Words that are deemed inappropriate to say in public don't seem to have a place in public discourse, including news stories that may be read by children. We felt describing the general gist of what was spray-painted was sufficient for a reader to understand the story. Listing the actual words felt inappropriate and gratuitous."


Mon, Sep 10, 2012 : 8:28 p.m.

I guess the prevailing attitude is "so what, they aren't driving around drinking". That makes it ok, right? Kids will be kids. They just make poor choices. What a crock.


Mon, Sep 10, 2012 : 7:42 p.m.

The reality is that under aged and excess drinking (by both under those under AND over 21) is prevalent on college campuses including U of M. The truth is that there are bogus rules in place for campus parties that supposedly control the drinking, with bogus tracking of beer by person and beer not supplied by the party hosts. All a crock, just a way for the fraternity council to get the U of M and A2 police to not harass "registered parties" and those yards with fences on them during games. Talk to your college age children and explain the dangers of bing drinking. We do. They still drink more than we'd like, but they know that we care and that we'll come get them anytime, and that we're concerned that 12 light beers is bing drinking.

John Seychel

Tue, Sep 11, 2012 : 4:39 p.m.

This is there time to party, and their behavior only reflects the social norms, and I know when you went to school, you never thought your child would be doing the exact same thing as you did!

music to my ear

Mon, Sep 10, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

I see them glasses of beer I thought no one was buying keggers. A.2 did you all make up that story lol.


Mon, Sep 10, 2012 : 7:18 p.m.

So what? I watched this video, and it brought back old memories. College is the time for fun, among other things. You puritans need to get a grip.


Tue, Sep 11, 2012 : 2:19 p.m.

I'm speaking to U of M spokesman Rick Fitzgerald, who stated: "It's disappointing that someone would take advantage of these situations to create these videos that have no redeeming social value."


Mon, Sep 10, 2012 : 7:44 p.m.

Who are you talking to?