This past weekend, while walking to the Reporter office, I passed by an event called the Quarter Mile Challenge. As explained on the event’s official Facebook page, the goal was to line the walkway with donated quarters. With a hopeful goal of $2,500, these funds would then be used to improve the Quarter Mile.
When the idea was first presented at Student Government in late March, I found it ludicrous. But when I observed the student response it gathered, I was impressed.
On the whole, it strikes me as uncharacteristic for RIT, which has a largely lukewarm sense of school spirit. Prior efforts, while noble, have not enjoyed widespread success. As a freshman in January 2009, I remember the second annual Orange Hair Challenge. In an effort to improve presence at campus sporting events, President Destler had pledged to dye his hair orange if the stands were full for Men and Women’s basketball games. Despite the promise of free pizza and T-shirts, the men’s game was only moderately full. During the women’s, organizers were giving away leftover pizzas to an empty audience.
This challenge departed from previous efforts in two key ways. First, it rallied students around a cause with a tangible benefit for them. Second, it provided participants a visual representation as to how their individual contributions fit in.
Does RIT seriously need to focus on campus beautification? Probably not. While I personally feel there are other ways the money could be better spent, I applaud the student effort involved in gathering it.
Ultimately, the challenge succeeded in uniting students. However, that’s only the start. Gathered together, you have strength in numbers. Figure out how to maintain that strength, set a firm goal and together you can leave a lasting impression on the Institute.