As many of you know, I am actively stalking my alma mater, The College of William and Mary in Virginia. She and I have a special relationship. No one understands her like I do. *presses lock of hair to nose, inhales deeply* I will take any excuse to go back to campus - up to an including the glorified timeshare sales-pitch that was Young Guarde weekend.
I went into the weekend ready to be sold. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding The College recently - cross debates, sex worker fights, and questions about diversity programs - all culminating in the resignation of President Gene Nichol. Nichol was never president while I was a student, but I liked the cut of his jib - I wanted to be reassured that his progressive ideas hadn't been ousted with him. I was pleased that YGW started up with a Q&A with the interim president, W. Taylor Reveley, III .
Reveley: We want ... mo-ah mon-eh!
Me: More money? We're grad students and young professionals, dude. We haven't got any money!
Reveley: Other schools have lots of money! We want, we want some of that money. How about hedge funds? Hedge funds make lots of money.
Me: Er ... maybe you could outline how you plan to continue where President Nichol left off? You know, increasing diversity, tolerance and equality?
Reveley: Are you gonna give us mo-ah mon-eh, or what?
Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating just a bit.
Still, I can't imagine what Int. Pres. Reveley was hoping to achieve by informing us that W&M needs $2-5 million extra in the operating budget, and then waiting expectantly. Did he expect a few Young Guardes to pull out their wallets and mutter, 'well, I've got about half a million here...'? He even dropped the b-word (1) at one point, and half of us soiled ourselves.
But here's the thing ... the only way we can ensure that W&M stays on the right track is to give them the money. For all that W&M is a public school, it only gets about 20% of it's funding from the state - it really depends on donations from alumni. The older alums are so influential because they can threaten to pull their donations. It's the sad truth, children, that money makes the world go 'round.
What we need to do is to pool our efforts, donate in a block. If we have a lot of people giving a little bit we may have a shot of out-performing the older alumni. I have visions of the Young Guarde storming the Board of Visitors meeting to present them with a list of demands and a big, fat check.
Who's with me?
(1) B is for billion, and that's good enough for Reveley ... barely.