Editorial Board 2000-2001
To give or not to give
To give or not to give
Campaign Western, the university's fundraising initiative, recently announced a record-level achievement in its ongoing attempt to pull together cash for the school. And with a current $170 million in the bank, their goal of $270 million is completely within sight.
This bodes well for the school and every aspect of students' lives that will undoubtedly benefit from the funds. But it also raises the question of how much students are willing to give, if anything at all, to their alma mater.
Talk to any graduate of this fine institution and they will go on at length about how they received phone calls from Alumni Western soliciting money, at what seemed like a few short hours after their graduation ceremonies. Some students, or their parents, receive calls even before they put on their mortar boards and gowns. Many of these calls result in firm 'no's' from students who felt like giving back was the last thing they would do after the years they've spent on campus.
Why are these students so seemingly disgruntled? What drives them to think 'Give back to Western? Hell no!'
Perhaps the question one should be asking revolves around the issue of what the school has done to make them feel like they should give back. After all, students pay legitimate bucks for their tuition, and arguably, they pay through the nose for administerial services while they attend. Why on Earth they even think of giving back in the first place?
Aside from graduates who are essentially guaranteed six-figure salaries after their Western days are over, the rest of the student population must scrimp and save for a few years before their bank accounts get fat. Calling graduates mere days after they've made the big leap should be re-thought.
Moreover, the modern students' generation can be very jaded when it comes to the university experience. Universities can seem like monolithic, big businesses that churn out graduates instead of true academics. This generation often times does not buy into the idea of school spirit. Schools will say they need more government funding to assure quality, but this will always be the case.
School spirit seems to be dying as our the university experience becomes less about expanding oneself as a person and more about setting oneself up for the Big Payday. The feeling among many students have now is that the school already sucks enough money out of them while they're here, so why expect them to hand over more cash when they leave? The only real connection they had with this place was the money transactions that took place at the beginning of each term.
Ultimately what Western's administration and faculties are going to have to do is show that being a Western student is an experience that is unique and invaluable in itself.
Maybe when Western shows students that it cares, students will be even more willing to give to Campaign Westerns of the future, years after they've lived the Western experience.