Last Thursday after Chapel, screens portrayed the presentation of the 2001-2002 Prickly Pear to Dr. Money via video tape.
This ended an 86-year tradition of unveiling the book and presenting it to the president in a formal ceremony during Chapel. The change cheapened a normally exciting moment.
In past years, this formal presentation to Money was also a showcase of the yearbook, hot off the presses. Students knew that the books were available, and their unveiling was a sign of their importance to our campus.
The Chapel committee’s reasoning was this: the live presentation would not fit with the overall mood of Chapel and would be a distraction. In an effort to increase the spirituality of everyone’s Chapel experience, Chapel leaders effectively cut out all announcements or anything perceived as such.
This reasoning is perfectly sound, however the presentation of the Prickly Pear is not an announcement, promotion or distraction. It is a tradition that has graced the university since the oddly-named books were first published in 1916.
While tradition is a large part of our objection to the university’s ruling, another factor to consider is how much work goes into the Prickly Pear. If an event is happening at ACU or an interesting story surfaces, the Prickly Pear must cover it.
The objective of a yearbook is to capture the school year in words and photographs, and thus a Prickly Pear employee’s work doesn’t end.
This work should be honored with a formal presentation to the president, who normally says a few words afterward congratulating the staff.
Instead, we strained our ears to hear a muffled video as restless students left Chapel.
Besides, the presentation in Chapel could easily be made with little or no distraction. At the conclusion of Chapel, after the devotional part has concluded, the editor or selected staff member could hand Dr. Money his book. Money would then formally accept the book, as it has been done for years.
It’s that simple.
After all, similar “distractions” occur pretty often for athletic teams before they begin a new season.
Those in charge of Chapel should give careful thought to re-instituting a formal presentation of the Prickly Pear to Dr. Money next year.
The importance placed on the Prickly Pear and its future may depend on it.