Letter to the Editor: Booth

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

Spring Carnival Booths are becoming more elaborate, and more expensive, from one year to the next. The situation is akin to an arms race: no organization can scale back, lest its public image (read: recruitment) suffer and current members and alumni object forcefully. However, building a booth is consuming more time, money, and person-power year after year. This trend is unsustainable.

In my opinion, Booth is a colossal waste of organizations’ money and resources. Many groups have a substantial, even obscene, budget for new materials that end up in a dumpster on Sunday afternoon. Worse still are booths left incomplete. All is demolished after less than three days on display, and that is simply wasteful. At the very least, a budget limit should be imposed not only to level the playing field for organizations with smaller budgets, but also to emphasize the university community’s commitment to making things that matter, making things that last.
Making things that last.

Let’s take this one step further: suppose that instead of drawing up plans for a glorified shed, talented students were to design a mural, playground, garden, or remodeling project and pitch it to nonprofit organizations and community leaders. Suppose that instead of providing extensive safety and security measures for a parking lot, the University were to provide transportation to project sites for groups to implement their plans. Suppose that booth resulted in something that would make a difference, something that would last (other than, of course, the coveted trophies awarded to organizations for projects that will be summarily demolished).

I spent two “build weeks” too many in the Morewood parking lot: the first fueled by starry-eyed curiosity, the second fueled by peer pressure and threat of fines. I saw Booth make some individuals unhappy, disagreeable, resentful, depressed, and physically ill or injured. I am displeased that our university continues to sanction a tradition which so explicitly encourages pouring money, time, and effort into things that don’t last. Instead, let’s find meaningful outlets for students’ creative talents, sense of healthy competition, and countless hours of free time during build week.

Charlotte Darby is masters student in biological sciences.