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Onward Debates: 2013 Senior Class Gift

Voting for the 2013 Senior Class Gift began this week, with three fine options to choose from. Seniors are able to vote online through Friday to select which of the three choices they want to see help define their graduating class. But which project is the best? Three of our writers explain which option they support.

Let us know in the comments which gift you think is the best (especially if you’re actually a senior)!

The “We Are” Sculpture – Doug Dooling

Seniors, now is the moment to decide our legacy.

Our Managing Editor Kevin Horne wrote earlier this week that he thought this sculpture would be “dumb.” While I believe that Kevin’s heart is in the right place, I do not believe that endowments and donations should be the purpose of a Class Gift. While we can raise money for charities at any time in our lives, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to shape Penn State. In my opinion, the 2013 Class Gift ought to leave a lasting impression on our campus. When we stood at childhood’s gate… thou didst mold us Dear Old State. Now, we have the opportunity to mold the institution we called home for the past four years. The “We Are” Sculpture, inscribed with the words of our Alma Mater, should be our class gift.

Scholarships. Endowments. Renovations. They are never remembered. When the Class Gift Committee advertises why seniors should leave a lasting impact at Penn State, they hide the Lion Shrine, the Old Main Bell, the HUB Patio, and other landmarks beneath blankets so that soon-to-be graduates can imagine what University Park would be like without our treasures. However, the Committee cannot pull a grant from a century ago. Money is momentary, but stone never scatters.

The “We Are” Sculpture will be a way for the Class of ’13 to show our presence to our children. When I bring my future son, Maximilian Odysseus Dooling*, to Penn State, I want to show him how I left an impact at Penn State University. How would he be able to see an endowment, especially for a cause that I could not explain to him. And I haven’t met a child with a serious interest in windows. The statue is the only option that I could use to bond with him.

I also envision the “We Are” Sculpture serving as a substitute for the Lion Shrine. “We Are” doesn’t need to stand only for Penn State. I imagine people holding signs next to the statue, perhaps in their caps and gowns, to say who the university molded them to be. “We Are” Engineers. “We Are” Blue Band. “We Are” Nittany Strong. The stone would be a new landmark that Penn Staters of all generations would use to bond and to describe themselves.

The “We Are” Sculpture represents the unity that seniors found with each other over the past four years. Especially these past four years. The other proposals will not last long nor will we be able to share them with our sons and daughters. Seniors! We must stand behind “We Are.”

*To the future Mrs. Douglas Dooling Jr.: I am open to different names for our son.

Rec Hall Beautification – Amanda McLaughlin

Rec Hall is one of the oldest and most well known athletic buildings on campus, providing students with two gymnasiums, racquetball and squash courts, indoor track, and gold nets. I remember walking into Rec Hall as a freshman and thinking that it was one of the nicest fitness centers I have ever encountered on a college campus.

But, there is always room for improvement. You might notice the next time you walk into Rec Hall to pump some iron that there are three large windows that have been filled with limestone block. By voting to “beautify” Rec Hall, a new window system would be installed attempting to replicate the original windows that were removed in 1962.

The windows would allow for light to shine through them, ensuring that any passerby will not overlook this state-of-the art facility. By voting to refurbish Rec Hall students will not only admire the striking new design, but will also probably be more inclined to break a sweat on the treadmill considering the view is nicer.

Penn State Hershey Center for the Protection of Children Donation – Bailey Siegel

I don’t think there’s really a question of what the senior gift decision should be based on the three choices, but I’m here to tell you why the money should be donated to the Penn State Hershey Center for the Protection of Children.

Although it might not be the most tangible option, I don’t think senior gifts should just be to leave a physical mark on the school, but to do something that will affect the greatest number of people. This, without a doubt, does just that.

It’s pretty clear after everything that happened the past year, people find it a lot easier to say that Penn Staters don’t care about doing the right thing, and this is the perfect opportunity for the senior class to show where our priorities really are.

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