New wildcat statue project is frivolous, not functional

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Illustration by Liz Coffee

Illustration by Liz Coffee

Associated Students is going to have a wildcat statue built and installed on campus. The project is being funded by several different groups, and is meant to raise school spirit.

In A.S.’s realm of romantic and grandiose rhetoric, erecting a statue to symbolize the spirit of this campus sounds like a fun and worthy expenditure. Chico’s student body, however, is on a different plane entirely.

Spending $130,000 on something as nebulous as school spirit just doesn’t make sense. 

If the university is a single, unified body, then school spirit is its pulse. It’s the veins that pump life through everyday campus life.

Plopping a shiny brass cat down in the center of campus is like devouring a handful of candy. It’s gluttonous, frivolous, and leads to nothing more than a temporary sugar rush.

School spirit sugar rushes were fun in High School, but Chico State students need something more substantial.

Successful sports teams, active organizations, and empowered students raise school spirit. This statue does none of those things.

Proponents of A.S.’s latest art project have stressed that the extra money going toward the statue is a one-time donation and can’t be given to organizations.

That’s fine. Put the money towards a worthier, more practical  project.

Give us more Emergency Blue Lights. Make campus a safer place for students after dark.

Put the money towards rebuilding Gus Manolis Bridge and inspecting campus trees.

Half of the Alumni Association’s contribution came from its campus beautification fund, and right now there is a mangled bridge in desperate need of a makeover.

How about a series of $500 scholarships for students who can’t pay for books?

In her interview with The Orion (see A1), A.S. President Taylor Herren said she is looking forward to doing something “proactive and for the students.”

The only thing proactive about a wildcat statue is the amount of effort it takes to plan the construction.

In its own Values Statement, A.S. claims to support accountability for financial management, innovation in its projects and collaboration with the student body.

If A.S. truly values these characteristics in deed, not just word, it should open the floor for student feedback.

Is an expensive statue really what this campus needs? Are there more important causes that this money can support?

These are the questions that A.S. needs to ask.

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