A need for different appeals

On Tuesday night, a multitude of student groups submitted appeals to Student Union Treasury to bring speakers to campus. That, combined with last Tuesday’s voting, brings the list of funded speakers to: Al Gore, Daphne Kwok, Mukherjee, Deanne Bell, Jess Weiner, John Legend, Amy Chua and Sofia Vergara.

We think it is a great thing that so many student groups are involved in bringing speakers to campus, and that Student Union is open to the idea of bringing important thinkers, writers, artists and politicians to offer their experiences to us.

But at the same time, there are no appeals for anything other than speakers. Treasury has done all it could so far (and spent quite a bit of money in the process), but we believe that something more could be offered.

This university has a few traditions, the Nerf-gun fight in the engineering school, Bauhaus, Vertigo, W.I.L.D., etc. These are all great events that make Wash. U. a much more enjoyable place to live (on top of the great amenities we are offered).

Outside of those events, there aren’t many traditions at this school. ResLife tries to manufacture them on occasion, with the ResCollege Olympics and ResCollege dinners, but those don’t really have any push to them, no sense that you are missing out if you don’t attend.

We believe that this school needs more traditions, and it is up to the student body to start them. It isn’t easy to make a tradition, an event that every student goes to just because it is something that every student does, but W.I.L.D. didn’t miraculously appear. Architecture students didn’t randomly decide to pitch tents during Halloween, Engineers didn’t create a light-up floor in Lopata for their health. Someone, or a group of someones, had the drive and vision to make these events what they are today.

Speakers are wonderful, and we are glad that so many big names are going to be coming to campus, but listening to people talk isn’t all there is to being a college student. Students should appeal for funds for all sorts of reasons, not just for speakers, to create the traditions that other schools have.

It will obviously take a lot of work. You can’t go in to a Treasury appeal without an exact idea of what the event will be, what it will cost, how it will go down, etc. But if you truly want to make an event happen, it is definitely possible.

And once those appeals start, Treasury should consider approving them. We understand that many of the students on Treasury have an aversion to spending money, especially for new events, but the only way to try something different is to take a chance. Every year Treasury has a large amount of carryforward funds, money that they didn’t spend the year before.

If our Student Activities Fee isn’t being spent solely on speakers and groups, we could try to start events that students will remember when they leave. We can try to start new traditions that will continue long after we have moved on.

It is something the entire student body would need to work on doing. But we believe there is no reason the next Vertigo, or the next W.I.L.D., the next Wash. U. tradition, isn’t out there, waiting to be created. All you need to do is appeal.

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