Have you ever wondered what it takes to have a society named after you? You might be surprised to learn that one of the most popular and active societies at the University of New Brunswick, the Albert Ross Undergraduate English Society (ARUES), is named after a student who did not even bother to read the poem he was supposed to write an essay on. 


ARUES is a society for English students who share a passion for literature, creativity, and fun. The Society organizes various events and activities throughout the year, including: socials, wine and cheese parties, literary conventions, field trips, travel opportunities, creative writing workshops, and fundraisers for charitable causes. 


So who is Albert Ross, and why is he the namesake of this society? According to UNB legend, Albert Ross was the brainchild of an undergraduate student who enrolled in an English course that required him to write a paper on “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” a famous poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. 


However, the student did not read the poem. Instead, he relied on what he overheard from other students who had read it. Unfortunately, he misunderstood one of the key words in the poem: albatross.


In the poem, an albatross is a large seabird that follows a ship and is considered a good omen by the sailors. However, the mariner shoots the albatross with his crossbow, bringing a curse upon himself and his crew. The mariner is forced to wear the dead albatross around his neck as a sign of his guilt and remorse.


However, our student misheard “albatross” as the name of a man—”Albert Ross.” He imagined that Albert was a friend of the mariner who accompanied him on his voyage. He wrote a paper based on this assumption, inventing details and events that were not in the poem at all. He even gave Albert Ross a personality and a backstory. The professor was baffled by his interpretation and gave the student a failing grade.


The story of Albert Ross soon spread among the English students and faculty. They found it hilarious and absurd. They decided to name their society after Albert as a joke and a tribute. They also adopted the albatross as their symbol and mascot. They saw Albert Ross as an example of what not to do as an English student, but also as an inspiration for creativity and humor.


So, for English students at UNB who are interested in joining the ARUES, you can find more information on their website or their Facebook page. You can also contact them by email. They are always happy to welcome new members and friends.


And remember: if you want to inadvertently name a society, just write an essay on a poem you have never read. Maybe one day you will be as famous as Albert Ross.

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