Arts & Life, Opinions

LBSU needs to put its money where its mouth is

When Long Beach State students look back on their time at this school, instead of remembering that our volleyball team received a championship title or that we’re one of the only universities with shark tanks on campus, their memories will be filled with broken escalators and the lack of a mascot.

Long Beach State should spend its funds on improving the academic experience, not on escalators and rebranding the university.

Last June, former California Governor Jerry Brown increased state funding for the California State University system, allowing room for about 4,000 more students to enroll statewide. While that sounds positive, this means classes will increase in size and courses will fill up faster. To accommodate these changes, LBSU will need to spend more money on new infrastructures and hiring staff. Instead the university is spending on the new mascot campaign and repairing escalators that never seem to work regardless.

Incoming students may be unaware of the university’s current financial situation, but upperclassmen know that last year the commencement ceremony was moved from the Central Quad to the Athletic Soccer Field and live music was almost cut in order to save money due to proposed budget cuts.

According to President Jane Close Conoley, these changes were made in order to save the university $100,000 a year.

While the university is apparently trying to save money, Associated Students, Inc. is spending tens of thousands of dollars on repairing the broken escalators located by the University Student Union, as previously reported by the Daily 49er. Though this task might seem necessary, it shouldn’t take priority over improving quality of education. At this point, with how often the escalators are down, students should be prepared to take the stairs on a regular basis.

Broken escalators can be a frustrating inconvenience, but they’re not worth the $25,000 annual contract that ASI has with Mitsubishi to service the escalators, let alone the $1 million it would cost to replace the escalators. Since the escalators hardly ever work, the contract is essentially useless and a waste of money.

Students can afford to walk up and down the escalator like a staircase if it means $1 million can be spent to better their learning experience. That money can be used to improve the campus by increasing the amount of mental health resources currently available for students, or by adding more computers in the University Library.

The university is also, no doubt, going to spend a lot of money on a new mascot and rebranding the school if the university is really trying to dissociate itself from the gold rush era. Money will have to be spent on designing new logos, creating new merchandise and changing the names of shops and restaurants on campus.

While it’s unclear how much money a new mascot would cost the university, the funds for the mascot don’t need to be allocated so soon. The university can save money if it phased in the new mascot over the next few years. Deciding on a mascot and spending money to rebrand the campus shouldn’t be a pressing matter, especially given the prevalence of our last mascot, or lack thereof.

Having a mascot typically provides campus communities with a sense of identity and pride, but Long Beach State hardly used Prospector Pete to raise school spirit lately.

Prospector Pete spent his last few years missing in action, failing to make an appearance at any sports games since 2014. His absence didn’t have an impact on morale — students can still get drunk and cheer at games without the help of a guy in an oversized suit.

No matter what the university chooses as a mascot, the campus community will more than likely continue to chant, “Go Beach,” instead of “Go Giraffes” or whatever ends up being our mascot. The slogan inspires far more pride at school events than Prospector Pete does or ever did.

There are better ways the university can spend its money than on a new mascot and escalators. These projects should be the least of the university’s concerns when considering the impact that increased enrollment will have on students.

The university needs to avoid spending money on projects it can’t afford. It’s much more important for students to be able to enroll in classes and graduate on time than worry about such trivial issues.

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