The Collegian
Monday, August 15, 2022

What do I owe?

It's spring semester, and that means we in the senior class are being harassed on an almost daily basis for donations to the class gift fund. So, before I get another guy with a clipboard trying to muscle a few bucks out of me, here are 12 reasons why I will never donate to the University of Richmond. Respectfully submitted, of course.

12. That speed bump in front of the B-School. I swear that thing's torn out a good $400 worth of the bottom of my car. It's like a friggin' set of road spikes, people.

11. My parking tickets alone border on extortion.

10. Because I hate how the school makes you change your Spidermail password every semester. What, is someone gonna hack into my Trash folder and open all those Spiderbytes I never read?

9. That time I printed out something at Boatwright with the color printer by accident. I lost 10 print credits and couldn't get it refunded. Come on!

8. Why is there no huge online file-sharing operation going on here? Where are the torrent hubs? How else am I gonna get to watch that last scene in Rambo 4 over and over again?

7. There's something about the Dean's Den that just pisses me off.

6. They still haven't put me on one of those coffee cup sleeves at 8:15. "Michael Gaynor: Found his passion watching VH1 reality shows. Found his purpose buying three seasons of 'Rock of Love' at the Circuit City going-out-of-business sale."

5. They're not real bells in Boatwright tower.

4. Because they won't let us ride boats in the lake.$50,000 a year and I can't ride a boat in the lake? I WANT TO RIDE A BOAT IN THE LAKE!

3. One word: Yellowcard. If you don't understand this, ask the nearest senior.

2. Last week, when Channel 2 went off the air on campus and I couldn't watch the season premiere of "Lost." I will never forgive you for that, Richmond. Never.

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1. Those holly bushes outside Thomas by the lake. You know, those ones that look kind of pretty but upon the slightest touch will draw copious amounts of blood.

There's a reason I ended with that last holly bush reference. The bushes, if you will, are a symbol for the school itself. A metaphor, to break out some Core 101 knowledge for you. Sure, they look pretty. They were obviously designed as part of an aesthetically pleasing blueprint. But up close, there's some obvious problems.

How do you talk about Richmond with people who don't go here? Probably the first thing anybody talks about is what a beautiful campus it is.

"Oh what a pretty lake!" And it is. But is that all we can show for ourselves? Can't we dig a little deeper than just looks?

What I'm trying to get at here -- and stay with me now -- is that we're far too image-conscious here at Richmond. Sometimes it feels like entire portions of campus were constructed solely to look pretty on brochures. We students are guilty of this, too. We're style-obsessed. I mean, come on, we wear suits and Vineyard Vines ties to football games. To football games, people -- a game where big sweaty guys collide headfirst in mud and dirt, a game where bones are snapped like Kit-Kat bars every other down. And we're wearing suits and ties. Even the coaches wear windbreakers.

You go to other schools and you see so much more commitment to the overall "feeling" of the place. Everyone is mobilized, bonded. Substance over style. We've got the style, but people, we can't forget about the substance.

And sure, we like to make excuses. Blame "the bubble." Why didn't you go off-campus to that cool show? The bubble. Why don't we ever see more of the city? The bubble. Why is there so much apathy around here? The bubble. Well, I've got news for you, people: there is no bubble. It's all in our heads.

What if we all end this ridiculous image obsession, we step outside our insularity every once in a while to see what else is out there? A new perspective might even illuminate one or two ideas for transforming the school itself into something more. Maybe then, just maybe, those 12 whiny complaints listed above will start to disappear, and campus life will get that much better.

So there you go. Twelve reasons why I will never donate to the University of Richmond. I don't care if I'm not invited to the Luau.

Contact assistant editor Michael Gaynor at michael.gaynor@richmond.edu

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