Opportunities and challenges face Tech

This is my 25 editorial. While I am not 100 percent sure on this, I think that makes me the most prolific editorial writer in Technique history.

Through my four years here at Tech I have had the pleasure to write as a still terrified first-year, an ego-centric student abroad, a desperate-for-content third-year columnist, and now an equally ego-centric graduating fourth-year and Editor-in-Chief. I have had the opportunity to voice my opinion on a new Institute President, a new President of the United States, three rounds of Student Body Presidents and countless other trivial things. I have also had dozens of people express their opinions about me. Some, in letters to the editor that you read here, some that were slightly less appropriate that we did not, and in one odd case, in person, at a bar. I guess I really do look like my headshot photos.

This year however, I have tried my best to write about the issues that I feel will shape this Institute. And so, as my “swan song” to you, the Tech student body, I leave a challenge. I love this school, and these issues must be addressed in order for our Institute to earn the national recognition that the faculty and students deserve.

There is a crime problem on campus. Do not listen to admonitions that the two-block stretch of Home Park that Tech expects students and employees to travel down between official Tech buildings is not part of campus. Demand that substantial efforts are made to keep you safe. Remember, the two most recent crimes had nothing to do with people making reckless choices, but were everyday students who were targeted and attacked.

Every time you receive an email telling you to walk in groups and take the Stingerette, ask yourself. “Was this victim walking alone, down a road that the Stingerette serves?” Most likely, the answer is no, and as long as those are the only suggestions offered to the countless victims on campus, there is not enough work being done to protect the unarmed, tuition and tax-paying students of this school.

Tech is not an “under-priced education”. Education as a national trend is over-priced, forcing students to bargain between education and crippling debt in a way that no previous generation has had to do. I came to this great school because I knew it was not over-priced like its competitors, something the Tech administration and the Ga. Board of Regents should be proud of.

Education is not an option. I have worked with secretaries with Bachelors degrees from UGA, and while we might joke about our sister-school, the environment where one must have a four-year degree to answer the phone is not an environment where young employees are given opportunities without degrees. If the Institute wants to fulfill its mandate of progress and service we must remember that Tech was founded to serve students.

Affordable education must be made a priority, or Tech’s pledges to provide sustainable, progressive and practical education to its students will be hypocritical and useless.

Finally, Tech has a community and a culture. It must change to meet the demands of students, to become more inclusive and participative and to reflect the diverse passions that our over 19,000 students have. But, in the quest to forge community, the culture that has been here for over 100 years cannot be forgotten.

In three weeks, once both my parents, my grandfather, my uncle, my cousin and I are all Tech alums, bragging to my brother, a current Tech student, we will discuss “Getting out”. We will be proud of the accomplishment of our degree, and we will bond over the common language that we all share thanks to Ma’ Tech. We will not discuss graduation, nor commencement, because that is not what Tech students have done for the past 100+ years.

When I do walk across that stage and shake Dr. Peterson’s hand, I will smile because his name is Bud. I will go home and drink a Budweiser, even though I don’t like them, just because the song makes it appropriate. I will try really hard to get my picture taken with the Reck. And I will then tell every single alumni solicitor that calls my number that until the Reck is given a permanent home on campus, I feel no need to donate. And when I cheer for this school, I will always say “Fight, Win, Drink, Get Naked!”

This school is an amazing place, and I have loved every minute here. Thank you for all that you have given me, and good luck.