As students returned to High Point University from fall break, the campus looked pretty much the same. Freshly cut lawns, strategically planted flowers and the crisp smell of autumn loomed in the air as students unloaded their cars and prepared to finish out the semester. Oh wait, I guess there was one change… kind of.
If you look up at the top of the University Center, you might have noticed that it now reads “R.G. Wanek Center.” It’s the classic tale of “some guy donates a ridiculous lump sum of money to the university and he gets a building named after himself.”
In this case, Ron Wanek, the owner of Ashley Furniture Industry Inc. donated $10 million. But while it’s all fine and dandy that he wants to donate money to us (more muffins in the kiosk, please), I don’t understand why they would choose a building that already has a name. Not only does it have a name, but it is the most visited building on campus. This means that literally every person on campus recognizes where and what the UC is… oh, I mean the WC.
To come in mid-semester and change the name of the most prominent building on campus is pointless. We are college students and we are set in our ways. We drink our copious amounts of coffee and can still barely make it to class on time. Now you expect us to call our food, academic and social safe haven by a new name? Sorry, that is not going to happen.
The only people who will call it the Wanek Center (besides the faculty – I think it’s in their contract) will be the incoming freshmen. Anybody who entered the school before the change will forever call it the University Center. That’s a three year gap between renaming the building, and actually having people call it by that name.
But to be clear, it’s not out of spite that students will ignore the new change. They just simply don’t care. It takes effort to break a habit such as to stop calling a building by its old name and college students already have enough unhealthy habits to worry about.
And not to point out the painfully obvious but, uh, hello, WC stands for water closet. Water closet stands for bathroom. Therefore, our new student center is a bathroom. Or at least in the minds of 18-22 year olds, this is what that means.
Saying, “meet me in the WC,” is going to get more giggles than true acknowledgement of the new name. It’s going to be thought of as a joke and that’s probably the last thing the school wants.
What gets me the most about this whole debacle is that there is an easy fix! If Ron Wanek wants to use his money to leave a legacy on our campus, he should have chosen a building without a name.
But Jodi, do we have those? Why yes, dear readers, we do! As you may know, HPU is about to break ground and drop yet another massive building on campus. What is now being called the “Learning Excellence Building” could have easily been called the “R.G. Wanek Building.” Nobody would have known a difference, and that, my friends, is the key point.
And if this doesn’t quite satisfy you, check out the new kid on the block. The School of Education was just built in 2012 and it’s the only “School of” building without a real name. It sits out in the sun every day just yearning for a last name to be put in front of it. Why should we deny such a nice looking building its one true wish? Am I right, or am I right?
Moral of my story: sorry Ron, LONG LIVE THE UNIVERSITY CENTER! Or at least until I graduate and don’t care anymore.