What would you give to Colby College if you struck it rich suddenly?

Senior pledge, described by a leader of the movement as “the process for starting to give back to Colby” has already begun this fall and has gotten me thinking about issues near and dear to my heart. If I were to have the money to make a large-scale donation to Colby, what would I put it towards?

I would argue that most students should start thinking about this, because, at some point, one of us will make a large donation. That person, I would hope, will have the students of Colby in mind when making that donation, rather than the alumni, reputation, or outside forces. Too often, I think, alumni donate without strings attached, giving the administration full power over their generous donation, or they give to a part of campus that does not help the students directly. I hope fellow classmates will harken back to their senior year at Colby when making their donations, and then decide to give. With this in mind, these are a few ideas that popped into my mind as I pondered this question.

I lived in a small dorm, Treworgy, last year, and it had one washing machine and one dryer. The laundry buildup was constant, the machines were overworked and breaking down, the only truly available times were at 4:00 A.M. on a Thursday, and the price still went up from the year before. Treworgy is not the only dormitory with laundry issues. In fact, I think nearly every residential building on campus deserves at least one more washer and one more dryer. Lots of students neglect to wash their bed sheets for the entire semester, sometimes because they are lazy, but sometimes because they just do not have the appropriate resources to do so. If David Greene spent one day trying to do laundry in Dana, West, or Pierce, he might agree.

Last week in my Geology class, albeit a large lecture, a student was forced to sit on the windowsill because the classroom was out of chairs. This hints at a larger issue on campus: that every classroom is at capacity because Colby keeps adding to its student population every year. Chairs for every student that possibly pays over 65,000 a year to attend this college would seem like an obvious improvement. Some facilities students use on a daily basis, especially the dormitories with numerous forced triples, seem outdated.

My last idea is regarding casual athletes. My sophomore year, I wrote an article for the Echo called “Support Casual Athletes” before the announcement of the new Athletic Center. In the article, and in meetings regarding the new Alfond center, I stressed the fact that many students at Colby are not a part of any varsity or club team, but still would like to play pick-up sporting games and use the College’s athletic equipment. The new fields erected this year are stunning, so why can the College not put two soccer nets on a field that already exists: Runnals, or another field. Why aren’t there nicer basketballs, squash rackets, and volleyballs behind the desk at the Athletic Center? I recognize that equipment costs money and does not directly impact an affiliated club or group on campus, but it would impact over half the student body on campus (the amount not on a varsity or club team) in a positive manner.

Colby students chose a small school partially because it is assumed that a college of just a couple thousand people could a ord to have adequate laundry facilities, classroom amenities, and sporting equipment, especially with an en- dowment of over $700 million. What frustrates me is that the three things mentioned in this article would cost so much less than $700 million, or even less than I pay to attend this school, and yet would bene t the general student population so much more than another massive donation to the already-stacked art museum. I recognize that these are pieces of art, but it is still frustrating as a student to feel that the big money and news about Colby has nothing to do with me, and more to do with those who have graduated. Most of the new and exciting buildings, such as the athletic center and the downtown dormitory, will be up after I have left Maine. I am not frustrated because I hate the museum or hate the idea of artwork donations, I am frustrated because I think we can have both large and small donations in a community like Colby.

But, most of these donations to the stacked art museum are specially given by alumni, who perhaps have forgotten what they wanted when they were 19 or 21 years old and wanted clean clothes or to play pick-up soccer with their friends. I believe that nearly every student has something cheap and small like goals or laundry machines that they would love to see on campus. Students have thought about and will continue to think about what they would give if they were alumni, whether it be more gluten free options, more coffee machines, more chairs in the spa, or, most importantly, more financial aid. I hope, in 30 years, when one of my fellow classmates makes it rich, that they do not forget about what they wanted back when we walked on Mayflower Hill together.

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