Smarter campus channel-surfing

The University Network and student events could use a mutual boost.

The recession blows; thereâÄôs no denying it. Families and individuals are being forced to tighten spending. Businesses are experiencing heavy losses in revenues and governments at every level are trying to find ways to fill massive budget deficits. Our own University of Minnesota is no exception to this great fiscal squeeze. While painful, periods of economic contraction offer that otherwise absent impetus to do more with less, to make fresh use of existing resources. One of those resources is the network of television sets which hangs above passersby in heavy traffic areas like Coffman Memorial Union and the Willey Hall east entrance lobby. Owned and contracted to the university by a business called The University Network, these television sets broadcast a wide array of messages to the few who exhibit the patience and ability to read them. By the time one reads through âÄúHelp, I cannot get the laptop image on my screen to project,âÄù the solution for those distressed souls has been prematurely replaced with an over-loaded display on how to reserve a classroom. Then comes a call to âÄúwork while youâÄôre in schoolâÄù: stern advice, but quite oblivious to the economic realities of the day. Students, many without jobs or disposable income, would instead appreciate a progressive presentation of large-lettered, minimalistic and readable upcoming free campus events. Occasionally, these are included in the current mix. But broadcasts comprised solely of upcoming free campus events might bring The University Network the attention that both resources deserve.