For a small fee of just $95,000, the student body can be part of a legacy that will become immortalized on our campus forever. But it won’t be a nod to a University of Minnesota founder or past president; instead, students can have part ownership in the sculpture of an imaginary character. An article published in the Sept. 10 Minnesota Daily reported the proposed building of a Goldy Gopher statue outside of Coffman Union, funded in large part by student donations.
School spirit is important on a college campus, but a statue of a mascot isn’t worth the nearly $100,000 from students and alumni.
Those funds would be better spent almost anywhere else: more student research projects, updating classroom and study space, student-led service projects; all of these things are just as capable of “building community” on campus as a statue of Goldy.
One alumnus in the article noted that the University has “been lacking in athletics tradition,” but reflecting on the past few years, we really haven’t; our women’s hockey team is a national champion, and while we’re waiting for our football program to get there again, our communal commiseration builds a sense of fellowship.
We don’t need to pay homage to a statue of a 13-lined ground squirrel — a mascot originating from an 1857 political cartoon that had little to do with the University — in order to show our school spirit. And to do so would be copying other schools; let Notre Dame and Penn State have their football legacies, with their Gipper stories and Paterno statues. We will continue to create unique Gopher traditions here, whether Goldy is erected. And it won’t cost students $95,000 for the world to see them.