Creative U of C funding ideas

By Pamela Koszut

Money. It seems to be one of the most talked about topics these days. Spending doesn’t seem to be an issue — but how to acquire it certainly is. Our own dear university is generating funds by means of the Chicago Initiative capital campaign. The goal of two billion dollars is quite ambitious. As such, I think it behooves me as a U of C student to ponder how this goal will be met and perhaps offer my two cents worth of suggestions.

A car wash: With all the construction on campus from the new business school to the new gym on Ellis, cars get disgustingly dirty. Having a clean car on campus has become but a fleeting dream. Keeping this in mind, I propose a car wash in the Ellis parking structure. Cars would not only have the luxury of getting cleansed of all their grime and dust, but could also be conveniently parked in the (paid) covered lot.

A rent-a-cat program: I have heard several complaints of rodent problems in the dorms. The most recent one comes from Max Palevsky where a certain little white creature was spotted nibbling on fresh Medici bread. Enough said. With an adorable little feline in the room, any rodent will be sure to take the hint: run or become dinner. Also, if no rodents are present, the cat can act as a desk paper weight or a source of companionship to overworked students.

Take a picture with a gargoyle: Everyone knows how wonderful the campus gargoyles are, so why not turn them into stars? With volunteer photographers, students can have their picture taken with their favorite haunting creature to be sent to parents as a memento of what they are doing in school. The gargoyles on the roofs might pose a slight problem to those afraid of heights, but I guess the rock climbers on our campus need to be served as well.

Begin a vendor program: One thing is for sure, students are always hungry. Why not have vendors sell goodies up and down the hallways of the buildings? Food could come from Cobb coffee shop, Classics, and other fine campus eateries. There is nothing more appealing to a hungry student with money than food!

Sell nuts to feed the squirrels: There are countless squirrels on campus, so why not offer students a diversion as they walk to and from class? Surely you have seen people selling pigeon food downtown to feed the birds – well, the same mentality applies. Only here it might be a bit riskier noting the sheer amount of squirrels on campus. But I do recall a rumor that a certain t-shirt sold on campus read: U of C – where the squirrels are cuter than the girls. If this is true, then why not feed the cute buggers?

Rent a Bike: The airport has it right with the rent a cart program for luggage. Chicago should take the example and start renting bikes to students. Surely walking from Social Science building to BSLC is a long way to walk. Think of all the core bio students that would take advantage of this phenomenal offer. Perhaps ice skates or snow boards during the winter would also garner funds.

A Roller Coaster: This seems like the surest way to both attract campus attention and sell tickets. Not only will students be engrossed with this wonder, but I bet that some illustrious professors would take a ride on the Midway roller-coaster. Look out Great America! The University of Chicago will soon become a formidable opponent.

Realizing, of course, that throwing a pie at a Nobel Laureate would not work, I hope these suggestions will perhaps grace the corner of some campaign director’s eye. Surely, they offer at least a source of amusement to those worrying about our current economic slump.