The Giant “W” is a Stupid Idea

 

UWT alumni and those who will be graduating soon may have recently received a letter. In that letter is a polite “congratulations” but without any “Hey? How are you? How are your parents?” or anything like that. Instead, that letter is asking students who haven’t even graduated yet to donate money so that we can…have a giant “W” on our campus, I guess?

The deadline is June 1st, you guys. The fundraising goal is $25,000, you guys. The letter tells you that few graduating classes have an opportunity like ours—to leave a lasting, 8 foot tall metal impression on our campus. It tells you that this will be more than a physical structure, but a symbol to all those who see it.

It also tells you it wants your damn money. $25,000 is a lot of cheddar.

Let me put some stuff out there for you all: Tahoma West, a literary magazine that has been on this campus since 1997 had to beg for $5,000 dollars to even exist last year. A coworker of mine, Niko Hernandez, who works three jobs, recently asked to have Microsoft Office installed on his laptop for free under with UWare and was told “We don’t do that anymore.” I’m not sure if the program is definitely gone or not, but I also don’t know why he would have been turned away.

Instead, Niko was pointed toward a discounted version of Office which after four years, expires and removes itself from your computer. I, personally, have had to purchase my schoolbooks over the course of weeks because my financial aid went from $249 for books to only $69—the other $180 going to the glorified gym that lurks above us on Market Street.

So where was the letter begging for money to keep Tahoma West alive? Or to help Niko pay for computer programs he needs to succeed in school? Or to help me pay for my books?

If you feel like you need a symbol—really, really need one—don’t turn to a giant “W.” If you want a symbol for the spirit of UWT, I would suggest a sitcom character that is cartoonishly bad with their money.

Do you know why UW Seattle gets a ton of commemorative statues and symbols and plaques and whatever else? Because they can be taken seriously as a university. I love the faculty at UWT, and my education has been fantastic, and given to me almost free of charge. However, a university whose ASUWT would sooner fundraise to build a $25,000 statue than find a way to use that money to help its students is a joke.

A few weeks ago, SAB hosted a birthday party for a fictional dog. That costs money, money that you paid the school. Let that sink in for a moment.

I understand community building, and I understand the concept of getting students involved on campus. That’s fantastic, and it is necessary. But for goodness sake, you cannot build that on top of a student body who is consistently disappointed in its own school.

Buy all of the statues, YMCAs and dog pizza parties you want. It’s getting harder to learn here, to be culturally stimulated, and to be involved in things an institution of higher education should provide for its students.

I’m angry. I think that a giant “W” is a dumb idea and a waste of money. I highly suggest you keep looking around campus, and see what dumb wastes of money you can spot. I suggest thinking of what great things a cultural group like the Black Student Union or Japanese Language Club could have done with that money. Or how many books it could pay for. Or how many calories it could have put into the bellies of struggling students.

 

Illustration by Felicia Chang

Illustration by Felicia Chang

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