My 98 Cents’ Worth

Someday very soon, I know that Dartmouth College will begin to ask me to do something more important than fill out another pointless form or to change my dining card option before I get pillaged $770; they are going to ask me for money. Considering that I have put my proverbial two cents in many times, I figure that it’s time to decide what to do with my other 98 cents.

Unfortunately, I have decided to pursue a career that will pay poorly — public service. Looking over my application brochures for a Masters of Public Policy, I see that the average starting salary is $40,000. While that might seem like a lot, consider that this is after two more years of school (which I have no idea how to pay for) and is primarily in the public sphere, where salaries rarely go above $80,000 unless you are as old as Bob Dole.

Now I have done this to follow my own calling, to attempt to be able to measure my career success in more than just income, not because I have failed to find the subtle meaning behind my fellow columnist, Kenji Hosokawa’s numerous articles: “If you are not an investment banker or make six figures, you are a pathetic and insignificant fool.” Nor is it because I lack the training to be an investment banker, being an economics minor, or that I have become a non-materialistic idealist. It is just a difficult decision that I’ve made.

“It is still remarkable that student volunteers have already managed to raise over $288,883 in only five nights,” writes Christopher Boffoli, Assistant Director of the Dartmouth Alumni Fund[“Article Downplayed the Success of This Year’s Alumni Fund Phonathon,” The Dartmouth, January 29]. I don’t know how long I have seen the Upper Valley United Way fund-raising sign up in front of Collis, but their entire goal was under $150,000. Still even more remarkable is that Boffoli was upset that this great accomplishment was downplayed. On The Dartmouth’s behalf, I think the student body is in enough of a morbid mood right now to not risk further depression (speaking of which, has anyone seen the sun recently?).

Now that our great college has enlarged its tiny coffers, I mean an endowment that is only over one billion dollars is really too small (I wonder what one billion dollars looks like? I think its something like this — $1,000,000,000.00). What are we going to use it for?

This is the important decision. Will we continue our tradition of destroying and repaving the road to the river dorms again this summer, will we hire a new professor, or does one more useless middle-level bureaucrat get a new place to call home?

The answer to this question lies among the individuals who have to power to control this money. Boffoli and the student body are not among those individuals. The alumni and the upper level college administrators are going to decide where this money goes.

The point is, if you donate to the College, be sure to attach as many strings as possible. If you do not, you would be better served by giving to a needy charity, not one that will use your money to hire another college parking ticket maid. When I give back to the College out of my feeble pocket, I plan on giving the money directly to the department that has given me the most, my major. Perhaps a few dollars will find their way to my fraternity house, but none will go into the “General Fund.” I urge all of you to stop and realize that those alumni, who get hit up for a hundred bucks once a year by some student whose objective is to get free pizza, are part of the problem. They are the ones who allow the College to fritter away so much money and not solve a single problem. After being here for four years you should know what is great about Dartmouth and what could be improved. So if and when you decide to give back, do so intelligently.

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