UNC Alums Aren't Fans of Bottled Water Promotion for Students
Did you know there’s a tradition at the University of North Carolina where students drink out of the Old Well on campus, in the hopes that it brings them luck and a 4.0 GPA for the semester? Michael Jordan must have been living off of that water.
Right now, college life looks a little different due to the pandemic, and crowding around a small well on campus probably isn’t the smartest thing to do. But to keep the tradition alive and welcome new Tarheels, UNC is providing every undergraduate student with a mini bottled water full of “Old Well Water” before the first day of classes. (It’s not actually well water, though. Just regular water. We’re not sure if the luck still carries over to honorary well water.)
From our point of view, this is a promotional win. It’s a way for the whole university community to come together without actually crowding around one space. It gives new students a sense of community at their new school, which always feels daunting. And it seems fun and creative.
Some UNC alums don’t feel like it’s the best use of the university’s money, however, especially since it asked them to chip in for the promotion, which it values at about $60,000.
@UNC @HereAtUNC @UNCAdmissions: Alumna here...y'all have nothing better to do than this? In this economy & in a pandemic, we're raising money for water bottles, for a tradition that the majority of folks don't participate in after their first-year... https://t.co/7OCxDMyT7P
— Taylor Price (@SustainableIRL) July 22, 2020
“I just kind of rolled my eyes,” one alum told The News & Observer. “I wasn’t surprised, I just thought it was ridiculous. If you’re thinking about asking alumni and donors to give, I would much rather give money that would help a student stay afloat. Yes, the tradition is nice, but we’re in a recession. … We can do without the tradition. People can’t do without food or money if they don’t have work-study or a part-time job anywhere.”
These alums certainly have a point. There are plenty of more pressing matters at the university level that should be addressed monetarily. No question. But, creating an atmosphere of normalcy to whatever extent possible is also important. And there’s also the possibility that students would have crowded the well if it weren’t for this promotion, so it could do real work in establishing social distancing on campus in Chapel Hill.
Also, if people are so concerned about how much the university is spending on these water bottles, wait until they hear how much it costs to manage a football and basketball team.