UNCW’s curious spending habits

Lanre Badmus, Contributing Writer

Editor’s Note: Lanre Badmus is a junior at UNCW majoring in International Business with a minor in French. Lanre also works as a staff writer for The Seahawk. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Staff writer Lanre Badmus may be found on Twitter @LonnyBadmon. All suggestions and inquires may be sent via email to [email protected] 

UNC WIlmington has grown a national reputation as a university on the steady rise in the last couple of years. With the installation of Chancellor Jose Sartarelli in the 2015-16 academic year, brand-new buildings and the celebration of its 70th anniversary, the university has been able to attract more students with the current freshman class being the largest in the university’s history. UNCW benefits a lot from donations received from wealthy alumni donors as well as the tuition charges of the students. However, does the school always spend money where it needs to be spent?

This past summer, UNCW made the rather curious step of installing treadmill and cycling desks in Randall Library. This move was made possible by a Friends of UNCW Grant and is seen as “a fresh alternative to sitting all day at a traditional desk.” The university believes it is beneficial to have a space where students can “stretch their legs while stretching their minds,” inexplicably forgetting that we already have one of the best campus gyms on the entire East Coast. Not to mention that students can also go out for a walk and some fresh air if they feel swamped in the library.

I remember seeing the university’s official Facebook page make a post about the treadmill desks and the decision received more critical comments than supportive ones. I was one of the more disapproving voices. As a college student, you want to be confident that the hefty penny you or your family pays to study at school is being put into the right areas. As an out-of-state student who pays twice as much to attend as any in-state student, this strange addition does not inspire confidence that the money I spend is being put to good use. In fact, it gives me an idea that the school tends to waste our tuition money more often than what’s revealed to the public.

Last year, Chancellor Sartarelli introduced a new five-year strategic plan. One of the key points of that plan was to raise enrollment to over 20,000 students. Its implementation began last school year with what was then the largest freshman class in UNCW’s history. That’s all fine and dandy, but why force them all to live on campus without first building new freshman dorms to properly house them all? That way, you wouldn’t see any spring admit freshmen live off campus just because they arrived a semester later. Yes, having an enrollment of 16,000 is very solid, but how exactly would that catapult us into being a top-100 nationally-ranked university?

A new Allied Health building doesn’t sound bad, but we still need more parking spaces. Instead, the university decides it’s a good idea to eliminate two parking lots, thereby further frustrating us students and leaving us to yet again scratch our heads. College parking is already a huge hassle for most students. The fact that UNCW plans to make it harder to park on campus only perpetuates the stereotype that colleges just want money. Not to mention that our previous student body president never made good on his word to obtain more parking spaces on campus. Perhaps that money would be better spent on keeping the library open until 10 p.m. on weekends as opposed to the unbelievable 6 p.m. time it closes on Fridays and Saturdays.

I love UNCW to death and am very blessed to say that I attend such an excellent university that is only even more up-and-coming. However, that doesn’t mean that the university couldn’t stand to emphasize spending in certain areas over others. It certainly wouldn’t hurt.