Senior gift, week found to be lacking

Eleanor Hein, Staff writer

Each year, the senior class forms a committee to decide on a gift to leave at the university.

A walk across campus can lead to the discovery of several footprints of classes past, including benches, the anchor between Hirt and Zurn and the lovely stained-glass window in the MSG chambers.

Needless to say, I was anticipating taking part in the Senior Class Gift Committee at the start of fall semester.

The idea of creating something that I can come back to when I am an alumna, that will represent the time that my peers and I spent at this University, was an attractive one.

As fate would have it, I was unable to attend the first meeting, although I had every intention of partaking in the next meeting.

That is, until I discovered the changes made to the senior class gift tradition.

The gift was not decided upon by my class: It is to be a scholarship that my class was given the liberty to set the standards for.

The concept of a scholarship is not a bad one — and please do not mistake my annoyance for arrogance.

The scholarship will aid one student who truly needs it, and as a student who has suffered greatly though my four years here to afford my education, I cannot condemn it.

But my disappointment comes from the fact that this scholarship will aid only one student.

I do not say one student per year because I am told that the next class, the Class of 2019, will inherit our gift, rename it, and present the same scholarship to the following class.

I am led to believe that this decision may have arisen from the controversy that came about during the construction of the campus’ most recent building, a sophomore residence hall on Briggs Avenue.

The construction of this building called for the destruction of the basketball court between Briggs and Lewis, which had been a class gift.

Little care was given in bulldozing the area that commemorated a class that spent four years at this school and put a lot of thought into creating a gift that would be attractive and useful.

This decision was quickly followed by the school scratching the plans for a coffee bar in the 24-Hour Lounge, gifted by the Class of 2017, that was going to be in the library to make way for more Intelligence Studies labs.

In retrospect, I should have seen the demolition of the class gift tradition long before this past fall.

The school has made it very clear that the alumni are important to the school, but only for who we become in the future – the past four years I have spent here mean nothing.

I opted to not participate in the Senior Class Gift Committee for these reasons, although I still considered enjoying the annual committee programs that past classes have enjoyed (such as the bar crawls and senior week festivities).

The first of these events of which I was aware was the winter bar crawl.

I thought it would be a fun event to enjoy during my final year, but when I discovered that prices had been raised to $15 to take part in the bar crawl, I found that I could not afford to go (note, if you will, that this price does not cover the drinks that must also be purchased during the event).

As a student with an Event Management concentration, I understand the necessity of making a profit, but this still seemed awfully steep for such an event (not to mention the target audience was college students with already tight budgets).

Since then, I have come to find that the committee has an aim to pinch as many dollars from the seniors as possible.

I am the fourth child in my family to attend university, and my school is the only one that has a senior week that aims to make a profit off of seniors.

The alma maters of my siblings (a Catholic university, a public state university, and a Nazarene university) all used the concept of a senior week to give seniors a stress-free week of activities that were little to no cost to the students.

I wish the Senior Class Gift Committee would stop using such a concept as a means of advertisement for a profit.

And I wish I could look forward to returning to the school someday as an alumna, but I worry there will be nothing to come back to.

Hurst has never been so far from “home.”