The weekend we’ve been waiting for is finally here. For the first time since 1958, our football team will play on campus. Texans and non-Texans alike prepare for the all the pomp and circumstance that comes with football.
But not every student is happy about the hype.
We challenge the student body to give the stadium a chance, at least for a while.
Football may capture our attention on Saturdays, with enhanced tailgates, the cheers of Wildcat Reign and a chance to all come together with school pride. But the rest of our week, most of us are concerned with classes, club events and jobs. Most of us didn’t come to ACU for the football, we came for the degree. (Or maybe even an MRS degree in some cases.)
As the opening of the stadium became more real, we noticed more students were worried about negative impacts, like the lack of parking. Some students complained that the university wasn’t giving enough attention to academic programs. The school can pay for football players to travel out-of-state, but some students struggle to fundraise for important academic trips or conferences.
Knowing the stadium cost millions of dollars only made students feel more frustrated. Students in the Department of Agricultural Sciences and the Department of Psychology commented on Twitter saying they feel their departments are underfunded. Others wonder if their tuition money played a part in the building of the stadium.
The truth is, the stadium funding came from former students donating to the school. These alumni were once students who attended this school and probably had complaints like we do. Once they had the funds to help, they decided to do something about the needs of the university. In fact, the biggest donors to the stadium, April and Mark Anthony, also gave to the College of Business Administration and the Onstead Science Building. Our tuition money did not make the stadium happen.
At this point, we don’t know how the stadium will help our school in the long run. We don’t know if our team is going to do better this season. We don’t know if seeing the stadium will encourage more alumni to donate to academic programs or student scholarships.
You don’t have to bleed purple this weekend if you don’t want to.
But we have to give the stadium a chance. We can do our part – show up to the tailgate, wear purple, cheer a little if you want. We can also raise our other complaints to the university and ask for more funding to academic departments. We can cheer or critique our football team. But no matter how we feel, this university is ours and this stadium is ours, so let’s take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy it.
*Disclaimer: The Department of Journalism and Mass Communication benefited from the construction of the stadium through receiving a fully equipped ESPN 3 television studio. Some members of the editorial board work at ACU-TV.