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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Opinion

Focus Friday: billion dollar fundraiser


With the launch of UH’s billion dollar campaign, Delany Catlettstout, John Brucato and Thomas Dwyer weigh in on the fundraiser. | Ajani Stewart/The Cougar

 

Here, we go. In the past week the University has launched the public phase of its billion dollar campaign. “Here, We Go: The Campaign for the University of Houston” is designed to strategically move the university forward. The University would like to raise one billion dollars by 2020. This campaign was quietly launched in 2012 and is already more than halfway to their goal, sitting at $680 million dollars in donations. Of the $680 million raised, the John P. McGovern Foundation has donated $20 million dollars. With this donation the new school for the arts will be named “Katherine G. McGovern College of the Arts”. This will be the first time a UH college is named after a woman, and also the first time a college is named after a former student.  

However, this campaign is not unique to our University, The University of Texas at Austin finished raising more than $3 billion in 2014 while Texas A&M is more than halfway to its goal of $4 billion. Both the University of Texas and Texas A&M also receive funding through the Permanent University Fund.

I believe that this campaign will help our University build credibility in the community and within the legislature. Currently, UH is at a disadvantage due to the fact we do not receive funding from the Permanent University Fund (PUF). On this years UH legislative agenda the University is pursuing State funding for Tier One universities, which is a grouping of research oriented funds that constitute an innovative and powerful tool to develop and grow a more nationally-competitive Tier One research university. When lobbying for funds it is a very important that we prove that we are able to raise our own funds to create legitimacy and to show community support.

As usual, universities are in the business of taking money. The form of collection, whether tuition increases or donations, is irrelevant. The University has set priorities for donor allocated funds. My question is, who set the priorities? The President? The Board? The Athletics Dept? The point is we are giving money to the cause that effects our university. There are 40,000 students, if our voice really mattered as much as the administration claimed, we would be setting the priorities, not just given a preference.

Every student and alumnae should want to see their university strive to improve. The University’s billion dollar campaign is no exception. As students, we already pay our fair share to the university one way or another. If you’ve got money to donate and want to, but all means donate. If not, think of all the things that you already put into their university and consider making a donation to the university at a time when things are not so financially tight.

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