By Caleb Diehl /// Editor-in-Chief
Just in time for Fall rains, we’re demanding that Facilities build an ampersand-shaped lazy river on Great Platt field. We demand construction to be completed in the next week. Our concept drawing looks like this:
On first take, it appears that the editors have succumbed to midterm-induced dementia, but we’ve got an age-old argument to back us up: everybody else is doing it. Louisiana State University is building a lazy river that spells “LSU” in the school’s signature Geaux font. Texas Tech already sports what the New York Times calls a “Texas-size” lazy river. Beside those efforts, Lewis & Clark is looking, dare we say, lazy.
Sure, not every school is blessed with the resources for a lazy river. Auburn University in Alabama doesn’t have one. They could only afford a paw-print-shaped hot tub with room for 45 students.
LC has never appeared on Playboy’s list of top party schools, in part because we don’t yet have an ampersand-shaped lazy river, or even an ampersand-shaped hot tub. We spend money on football locker and weight room expansions, uber-sustainable mid-century modern dorms, quirky kids’ science show hosts, and proposed climbing walls. Our amenities satiate nerds clutching homemade kombucha in their climbing chalk-coated hands, not frat bros—and we like it that way.
Whatever your school, investing in extracurricular diversions (building cool shit) has become the national plan for collegiate success, but you don’t have to hop on board.
Want to go to a school without a trademarked lazy river? Hop on board a plane to Germany, where college is free. That’s because German students mostly find their own housing, go to class, and expect their social and workout lives to flourish off-campus. College doesn’t come with free pizza, but college is free.
This is an age where students should interrogate every capital project proposed by their schools to discover whether it’s worth their tuition dollars. Of course, studies have proven the benefits of living on campus. Easy access to fitness features improves mental health and reduces stress. For those who can afford U.S. college, free college in Germany looks like a Spartan alternative. But for too long, we’ve taken for granted the idea that we must spend more tuition money to get more plush amenities to fuel our growth as whole people. At some point, the current of thousands of dollars spent on lazy rivers, or their equivalents, drowns the real meaning of higher education.