Thursday, October 13, 2011

DEAR @BCHEIGHTS: YOU MISSED THE POINT

It's been a long time (you know, since we were students) that we were featured as the points of order for the editorial board of the Heights. That said, we would like to respond to today's editorial, "Does Opportunity Come with a Price Tag?" which wasn't completely behind the idea of FireSpaz.org.

I went back and forth on doing this style of response, but decided that the editorial board may have missed the mark on their commentary and I wanted to set things straight. By the way, we love the Heights, always have, and we really did enjoy the original article about FireSpaz.org you posted in the news section a few weeks back.
Last week,
It was September, nearly a month ago, actually.
the blog Heights and Lows (one of several Boston College alumni-fan sites) posted an item lamenting the football team's record and suggesting that coach Frank Spaziani should share more than some of the blame. Nothing new there. The voices from the blogosphere calling for Spaziani's dismissal are many.
Correct, there is nothing new here when it comes to our thoughts (and others around the BC corner of the blogs) regarding the coaching situation.
 This particular blog, however, recommended that BC fans reallocate the money they would normally spend on tailgating and fan activities toward the Appalachia service program.
Yep. Right here.
Without trying to pick on Heights and Lows(they do post catching content), we view their recent recommendation as indicative of an attitude shared by campus groups, sports teams, and, sometimes, the administration; what we're referring to is the idea that students, in particular, have the cash to burn and that the only concern is how these campus authorities are going to vie for it.
Wait, students? Who-said-who-to-the-what-now? Didn't you just call us an alumni-fan site? And who said anything about burning the cash that you need?

Take the Heights and Lows blog post as an example. The hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars that fans and some students will pay over the course of a football season is a significant chunk of change. But those fans seem to enjoy the gameday experience and many will continue to fill seats despite BC's record.
Yes, football travel is expensive. Trust me, I have two more trips this season. I kind of wish I didn't have to go, but we have set a bit of a precedent over the past few years (in the last decade, I've traveled 26,894 miles by plane, car and train to various different - and I'm the kind of guy who keeps count of this statistic). I would cancel those flights if it wouldn't just cost me more, but I can't, so I consider that money I've already spent on the team and program to go along with my tailgate donation and bookstore purchase.

I'm also still going because I love the gameday experience and the camaraderie - probably why many of you students are still going to South Bend for a game in which we'll get destroyed. That doesn't mean I'm going to spend more on this initiative. Just reconsidering to which parts of BC I'll send my money.
The fans, however, don't owe anything to the BC football team and, if they choose, can withdraw their financial support just as readily as they gave it.
I think that was the point in the first place.
Neither do they owe anything in particular to the Appalachia Volunteers program.
No, not if they don't feel like they do. Still accurate.
Supporting the athletic department and campus service programs is a good cause.
Couldn't agree more. Across our closest group of friends, we dedicate donations to athletics, campus service, different colleges and many other activities on the Heights.
But in asking sports fans to give to the Appalachia program, there seems to be a presumption that students' wallets are disconnected from their personal interests – a presumption that students and alumni can very simply be convinced to give money … just because.
Well, that kind of wasn't the point. It was to give to something that makes us proud to be alums, whether its football or a club or something else. Students can give anywhere they want - if they so choose - the point was just to do it for something that makes us proud.
Also, take the senior class gift as another example.
Sure.
The business of alumni giving understandably works off the assumption that alumni (or soon-to-be alumni) have enough cash to give freely back to the college they've paid to attend. But, to put it frankly, asking students to open their wallets after paying over $200,000 over the course of four years is a bold request no matter how you cut it.
This seems like a rant unrelated to the above. You had me until here with at least some of the conversation. Yes, students, you may get asked to donate while still in school. They're not asking you to donate a new classroom in Stokes Hall, just a small, completely nominal amount to get you in the habit of thinking of BC.

Seniors, when the senior class gift committee comes around, they're asking for $20. Not an arm and a leg. That's a happy hour at Roggie's if you splurge. Bring a case in for the night, hang out with your roommates, talk about stupid things you've done and donate the change. Now I'm getting off on a rant about why giving even small money donations is valuable.
We understand that the fact that enough students do have the expendable income to open their wallets for the sake of the "We are BC" ideal.
Yes, and that's awesome when students can do it. Not to ruin the psychology, but the idea here is that if you donate in college, you're more likely to donate later in life when you can afford more than 5 bucks.
We, nor anyone else, can fault the University for pursuing those dollars (which are dedicated toward a better BC) or, for that matter, the athletic department or the service trips for putting a hand in the pot.
Waiting for the punchline.
What worries us most of all is that, at this University (which students pay to attend), community seems to orbit around pay-to-watch athletic events and pay-to-participate service programs.
I think everyone would love if events, service programs and the what-not could not cost students money. If it happened, it'd probably be on the back of alumni donations to those clubs that they fondly remember. The Heights sells ads to make sure that it can stay free. It requires work and contributions to keep that possible.

When we wrote our piece on encouraging people who invest in the program with their leisure dollars (i.e., expendable income), we were talking about making sure to still think of BC if they decide to pull it away from the athletics team during this rough season (well, rough few seasons).

A lot of alumni took a survey this week for the BC Fund and the questions focused on why we may consider giving. Every chance I got a place to write in or respond why I give, the reason is always the same: make sure students right now have the same opportunity we did, same experiences.

That is all.

</steps off soap box>

1 comment:

  1. With you 100%, sometimes it's tough to understand the perspective of a die-hard alum until you are one. Not sure I would have been able to fully grasp it while in school, either.

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