Letter to the editor: Senior class gift of ‘anchor’ a campus-wide decision

Sarah Gravante, Contributing writer

I am a member of this year’s Senior Class Gift Committee.  On behalf of the committee, I would like to address a few of the complaints/issues that you [the Merciad] stated in your article, “Senior Class ‘anchor’ gift idea sinks” in the March 2 edition of The Merciad.

First of all, the senior gift is meant to be just that– a gift.  It is something that we are leaving behind to make our mark on the school.

Yes, in years past, some of the gifts have had a more functional purpose such as the study space in the library and the concession stand in the MAC.

But, there have been many other gifts that have benefited the school by adding to the overall aesthetic of the Mercyhurst campus.

Additions such as the rock at the entrance of the campus, the stained glass windows in the Student Union Great Room, and the outdoor classroom have all been donated by previous senior classes and have become statement pieces of Mercyhurst.

At the beginning of the year, those who wished to participate on the committee attended meetings where we brainstormed ideas for the gift.  We had many different ideas including the anchor, charging stations, hydration stations, benches, a Laker statue, a fireplace, etc.

We voted on these choices as a group and sent the top five out in a survey to the senior class so that they could vote on which one they liked the most.  From there, we took the top three choices and presented them to President Victor and his selection committee.

He and the board had the final decision on the matter and specifically chose the Mercyhurst Anchor.  So when you asked, “Who decided that our gift should be the anchor?” you did, the administration did, we all did.

A strong student voice combined with the input of President Victor and the selection committee came to the determination that the anchor would be the best gift.

Since President Victor began working at Mercyhurst, he has placed a great deal of emphasis on Mercyhurst traditions.

He made it a point to bring back the ringing of the bells as well as created “Hurst Day,” which everyone loved and hopes will continue on in the future.

In addition to that, he has worked to increase Laker spirit and pride in all Mercyhurst students. I believe that he saw the Mercyhurst Anchor as another new possibility of creating long-lasting school traditions.

No, the anchor will not have any direct functional purpose, but it will serve as a symbol of good luck to all Mercyhurst students as well as stand as a reminder of the great history and tradition that Mercyhurst stands on.

Our fundraising goal of $10,000 may seem like a lot, but it is nowhere near enough to facilitate real change or improvement on campus.

We wish that we could do things like fix the parking garage or refurbish the apartments or build a new hang out space, but unfortunately, we do not have those kinds of resources.

Our goal as a committee and as a representation of the senior class is to leave a lasting mark on Mercyhurst that we can come back to in 10, 20 or 30 years and still see as the campus continues to grow and change around it.

Finally, the committee has been working very hard to raise money and support for this gift.  As a whole, we do not appreciate all of the negativity directed towards our efforts.

So in the future, I would encourage you to look for the larger picture around things rather than jumping to conclusions based on your own assumptions.