TOO MUCH RECOGNITION?
Last week, the Grand Valley State University Student Senate hosted its second town hall meeting to discuss donor relations with members of the Board of Trustees. More than 50 members of the campus community including students, staff, faculty and administrators came to weigh in on the discussion.
While it is important for GVSU to get outside funding, especially with less money being given from the state, there are better ways to carry out this task than to entice donors by offering to put a donor’s name on everything and anything. Even Shelley Padnos, chair of the Board of Trustees, and Kate Pew Wolters, the former chair and a current member of the board, expressed their surprise when they first saw their names in the library for the first time and how large they were displayed.
So now, the biggest question comes up. Is there a happy medium? Does it either have to be giving recognition in every nook and cranny or giving none at all? We at the Lanthorn think not. Just like with most situations in life, this is a false dichotomy. We feel certain there is some middle ground here that is waiting to be traversed.
There are many ways to show donors they are appreciated without plastering their names everywhere and distracting students who are trying to focus on their education. For example, GVSU could host a nice dinner once a month to recognize new donors who contributed that month and then have one large event at the end of each year to thank all the donors who generously supported the university. In fact, this kind of event could benefit students as well. These events could be prime networking opportunities for GVSU students to connect with those who care about their chosen school.
Another option may be to create a dedicated space for names of donors, such as a plaque in an entrance of a building, and then limiting names in the rest of the building or throughout campus in general. This option allows GVSU to thank its donors for those who don’t wish to have their name placed somewhere in the building, but also to retain donors who give for the sole purpose of recognition.
We don’t mean to be beating a dead horse here, but the fact is that this issue has remained unsolved. As the academic year draws to a close, perhaps it it time for the administration to think a little more outside the box to come up with a solution that is amenable to all parties involved.