Picture yourself on your way to class in a few years, strolling through the newly renovated Memorial Union. You pass the Veteran’s Hall of Honor and you notice that something is off. Above the sign, there is a very familiar blue and red circular symbol.
That’s when you remember that you’re walking in the new marketing-friendly, corporately-sponsored Memorial Union.
No, Pepsi Cola hasn’t made any bids yet, but this future is a possibility. That’s right, the naming rights to the soon-to-be renovated Memorial Union are now for sale for $10 million, not to mention several areas within it which vary in price from $5,000 to $1 million.
The administrators are doubtful that anyone will honestly take up the bid. Dave Hendricks, director of the Memorial Union, said to The Bulletin in a story published Aug. 20, “We’re always going to be the Memorial Union. I don’t imagine there is anyone out there who has the money it would take to change the name. It takes a lot of money to do that.”
Although $10 million is indeed a lot of money and, odds are, no one will take us up on it, why do we need to take the chance? Hendricks said the goal was around $2.5 million which was supposed to come from selling the names of said offices and go completely towards renovating those offices. So why do we need so much more?
To sell of naming rights of both the Memorial Union and its offices seems ridiculous and is a disgrace to those it honors.
Now most likely, the words, “Memorial Union” will still be in the name and students will still refer to it in their every day vernacular as “the Union,” but why do we need to sell out so much?
To me, this is a question of pride and respect. The Memorial Union is named to be a monument to those who have fought and died for this country and, by tagging a sponsor to it, we are defacing and disrespecting the memory of those heroes.
As for the offices, many were named for individuals who contributed to Emporia State University and, now that we need some cash, we toss aside their name plaques and portraits and put up a corporate logo.
It seems that money is a more important factor than honor when it comes to the renovation. But even so, say we sell the names of offices in order to make them nicer, then why do we need the $10 million? The Center for International Education alone is going for $1 million and, when combined with only three of the most expensive areas, we would have our $2.5 million.
If we don’t sell any office names, then the naming rights to the union itself would easily pay for the remaining goal, but then what is the plan for the excess $7.5 million?
If we absolutely must sell out, then we should not sell out superfluously. We should choose to deface either the offices or the entire union with marketing propaganda, but to rename both is just unnecessary.
I don’t know about you, but I would feel uncomfortable having to walk through the Axe Body Spray Memorial Union every day to get to the Verizon Wireless Cafeteria and for the student body to not even have a choice in the matter is depressing. If you agree or disagree, then make your disdain or support heard. That’s what we have an Associated Student Government for.
But, if you don’t, there are boons too. In just a few years, we could be the proud owners of the Trojan Brand Condoms Main Street Lounge Space.
M.U. stands for Memorial Union, not Marketing Us.