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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Staff Editorial: Who do we think we are, Elon or something?

“While Guilford’s campus is among the most delightful in academia, care is taken not to pour money into making a ‘show’ of the grounds and buildings. There are no soaring Gothic structures, no ‘putting green’ lawns, no excessive architecture.”

This is how the Guilford College website claims that we follow the Quaker testimony of Simplicity.

But how else would you describe a 30-foot man-made “water feature” surrounded by specially chosen boulders and modeled after one of Harvard’s fountains, if not as “showy” and “excessive?”

Not to say that this fountain will be an eyesore — the proposed design is rather lovely and would make a wonderful addition to a local park or a High Point University lawn. However, the idea of installing something so ostentatious on a Quaker campus while still maintaining that we are rooted in Quaker values is hypocritical, at best.

It’s disheartening, too, that so much money comes into the college for very specific, “Please Put My Name on This New Pretty Thing” reasons, while we have legitimate needs for basic maintenance which we cannot afford.

Bryan Hall has a black mold problem, and it’s no secret either. So why don’t we have the money to fix it? Sure, the fountain funds are a gift from the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation and can’t be used for anything else, but why not give money to improve one of the existing, run-down and frankly hazardous namesakes instead of starting on something new?

Neglecting serious infrastructure problems in favor of flashy new installations suggests that we care about our external appearances more than the quality of the student experience, but that’s certainly not the Guilford we heard about when we toured campus for the first time.

If nothing else, please hear students’ perceptions. Set up a forum. Let those who oppose the construction voice their opinions, their concerns, their confusion. If we’re going to blatantly ignore the Quaker value of Simplicity, can we at least decide to do so via consensus?

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  • E

    Elon AlumMar 13, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    You make a very valid case for Guilford not partaking in adorning the grounds with lavish water features because of it’s Quaker values rooted in simplicity.

    Was it really necessary to blatantly call out and scorn neighboring campuses in making that point? Not to mention, they are campuses that don’t have any connection or claim to the Quaker values you used to make your point.

    Are Quaker values not also rooted in Christianity? Where do of all the “love thy neighbor” and “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” values come into play here?

  • P

    Peter LarsonMar 13, 2013 at 11:50 am

    I agree entirely – faculty salaries need increased funding, as well as collections development of Hege Library. Are fountains on sale lately? They seem to be springing up on campuses all over, including UNCG. Part of the “arms race” in campus upgrading, I suppose.

  • R

    RachaelMar 7, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Thank you for highlighting this issue. As an alum, I hope the Guilford administration takes a ‘Guilfordian’ approach to this and truly opens a dialogue with students, faculty, staff, and other community members. The Bryan Foundation has done amazing things for the college and I can only hope they continue this support in ways that truly match the core principles of Guilford College. As someone who toured Guilford and Elon in the same day – I can personally attest to the fact that there’s something special about Guilford’s campus. You don’t need fancy buildings and fountains to prove that and I hope if such additions are made to the campus, they are added in a socially and ecologically responsible way. That is after all, what Guilford has taught us to expect and push for in this world.

  • E

    Erin Mezgar, Annual GivingMar 6, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    If you want donors to give to causes that you care about at Guilford, one way of doing this is working with the Office of Advancement. We are responsible for securing outside support to make up that 22% of costs that tuition does not cover every year.

    I invite you to apply for a Phonathon calling position, or just come by and visit. There’s a lot more to this fundraising thing that “Please Put My Name on This New Pretty Thing” idea.

    You all are here to learn and take action, and I’m challenging you to do just that!

  • B

    BenMar 2, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Don’t worry, JB Jr. can spend all he wants, its gonna smell like Quakeria and Grill food

  • C

    CateMar 1, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Couldn’t have said that better myself, Lindsey!
    We miss you terribly!

  • R

    Richard JohnsonMar 1, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    I think part of the problem is that not enough people are activley saying anything about the dorm problem. Up through last year, while I was a student, we complained to each other, but never did any of us speak up in a vocal manner.
    The goal of the administration right now has been to get more students by making the campus more appealing while maintaining Guilford’s image of a close-kint community, one way to do this is to play at being “Elon.” And this will succeed at making the campus look betetr to tour groups and visitors thereby getting more students who will live on campus for at least a few years.
    Therefore, it appears that the Foundation’s donation and purpose fulfills administrative goals and helps the campus in a way that seems good to members of an organization that has likely lost touch with the campus its members graduated from.
    So, maybe they and other potential donors should be educated, maybe the administration should be educated. Which is to say, I always used to here stories about how Guilford students were capable of organizing and moving mountains in doing so. Maybe it’s time that happened again.

  • E

    Elizabeth DzuganMar 1, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Wow — this is great, and dead on the mark! I hope that alums and donors read this and definitely think about the points presented within — especially before any of these parties donates money to the college. I also hope that resident life reads this and hears some of the concerns that this article voices, because as we know they are shared by the majority of the student body.

  • L

    Lindsey AldridgeMar 1, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Thanks for this staff ed, guys. If I was still on the Ed Board I would have been proud to have my name behind this.

    It’s frustrating to see such blatant disregard for our school’s purported Quaker values, even when done under the name of a donor. While I am grateful for the many things the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation has provided for our school, I think this installation proves there’s a disconnect between the foundation and the school itself. If they don’t know anything about our school and don’t care to find out, why do they keep giving us money?

    Beyond the outward extravagance, I also have a concern about the wastefulness of a fountain, especially given the low supply of fresh water in Greensboro. If it were a greywater system, it might make sense on our campus for its potential ecological benefits. Perhaps this is a part of the design plan (I hope so), but I haven’t heard anything about it. Then again, having graduated and moved to another state does make it more of a challenge to keep up with the campus gossip.

    Thanks to The Guilfordian for helping with that. =)