Papers flying, people running, tears streaming: these were but a few of the highlights on campus these past two weeks during dorm sign-up.
Starting on Jan. 25, students rushed around before class, after class, even between classes to sign contracts guaranteeing them lodging in the fall. It seemed almost irrational that such a rush occurred now, since its outcome will not affect our lives for another eight months.
[liveon2] The Live On campaign, put on by University Housing (UH) each year, has the ultimate goal of charming students into staying in campus dorms and apartments. Using more than ample amounts of posters, e-mails, postcards, UH-themed cafeteria dinners and giveaways such as magnets and pens, students were bombarded with housing facts and figures. Advertisements in The State News also became a frequent sighting before and during these few vital weeks.
But one has to wonder where UH receives its funding and resources each year. Surely it’s not from MSU alumni that loved dorm life so much they donated thousands of dollars in order to stoke their burning desire to promote the joy of living with strangers.
According to Maria Giggy, a housing counselor for UH, the campaign costs about $30,000 each academic year. Advertising to a school with over 43,000 students, Live On brings in only about 15,000 students, filling the university’s 17,000-student capacity. The difference is accounted for by the increasing number of students signing up for single rooms each year. According to Giggy, Live On spending ultimately brings in over $40 million from students paying for room and board.
Thirty-thousand dollars may not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, but from an individual standpoint, it’s enough to buy two cars or pay a year’s tuition at a private university, rather than a public one. It is also possible, if not for the $30,000 spent on luring students to stay on campus, our 24 painstakingly advocated undergraduate residence halls could be structurally improved. For example, the heaters in various West Complex halls could be fixed so they spew hot rather than cold air during these bitter winter months. It is likely each dorm has a long list of repairs that could be done with a few thousand dollars.
With this in mind, Live On seems to be a waste of public funds. Tuition dollars are either spent on worthless magnets printed with sign-up dates, useful for only about a month; pens that run out of ink after a page of notes and fliers that get crumpled and tossed behind a dresser.
[liveon3] On a broader note, it is important to question the effectiveness of the Live On campaign as a whole. One must wonder if students would really move off campus if not for the constant reminders during the beginning of the spring semester of all the resources dorm life provides. Clearly, there are students who would like to live on campus and yet wind up moving off due to limited space in dorms, given that plans for an additional building in the Brody Complex is well underway.
With MSU’s budget recently in the red, there are obvious cutbacks the new administration must take in order to continue MSU’s status as an affordable public university. With the alarming amount of money apparently going to waste each year, the Live On campaign may be one university program that needs your innovative reform. Although $30,000 may not seem that significant when working with a budget in the millions, every saved dollar helps pay off our large budget deficit.
All the same, Live On!, they say. Live On!
Budget A. Larmed

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