Editor’s Column – On the Hunt for a New Huntington

I’ve always thought college tours are an interesting thing. Three years ago, I was overwhelmed by the 18 schools that I visited with my dad, and after a while every school seemed the same. Every school had a library, a gym, “state of the art” classrooms and a student center. It seemed that everyone fudged the numbers to try to make you think that their student-to-faculty ratios were truly impressive, and I personally visited three different schools that boasted, “we have the number one cafeteria in the nation.”

After enough of them, I stopped putting much stock in campus tours. I realized that I didn’t think I was going to be one of the people who walked onto a campus and knows that, “it feels right.” The tours were simply too overwhelming. And admittedly, when I visited several schools on the same weekend, the campuses inevitably seemed to blend together.

But no matter what cafeteria I confused or which self-serving statistic I forgot, one thing seemed consistent on all of my campus tours. Everyone told a couple of white lies.

Now, when I walk to class and watch the campus tours go by, I wonder what white lies are being told to our prospective students. White lies, because Colgate truly is an amazing place, and any student lucky enough to be admitted here should be thrilled about the opportunity to study here. But nonetheless, tour guides have to tell lies. They are selling a product, and the price, according to Colgate University, is $51,090. That price is higher than any U.S. News & World Report top ten liberal arts college, and it’s been on the rise in recent years.

That’s not cheap, and while Colgate’s financial aid department does great work, Colgate is unfortunately not need-blind. So the tour guides have to do a great job of selling the Colgate education.

I’m glad I don’t have to be a tour guide, because I know what questions I wouldn’t want to have to answer.

“What do kids do at night and on the weekends?”

Um… Well there’s this little bar just down the road called the Jug. But don’t worry, your kid can only get in on Mondays and Thursdays.

“What’s the gym like?”

Fine… if you’re a varsity athlete.

I know that Colgate education is expensive, and I know that tuition does not cover all the costs that a Colgate University education entails (tuition only covers 63 percent of costs). And I know we just opened two spectacular buildings on campus, but Huntington gymnasium is embarrassingly insufficient for a school that was ranked the second most physically fit campus in America by Men’s Health in 2006.

Huntington is old, small, poorly stocked and always crowded. I’m not sure that I have a solution, but I’ve gotten the first step out of the way. I’ve identified the problem. The gym needs to be bigger. There is simply not enough space for all the students who visit it every day.

There are constantly long lines for many of the machines in the gym, but that problem cannot be resolved because there is simply no space to put new machines or weights. Also, in the free weights corner of the gym, there are too few benches and not enough space. There are plenty of weights, and no place to use them.

I don’t feel that I need to lament the point. I love Colgate, and I am extremely happy that I made the right choice to come here. But it is painfully clear that Colgate has outgrown the outdated Huntington gymnasium, and the gym does not reflect the high caliber of our institution.

Think that Huntington is something to be proud of? Then why don’t we show it off on our tours?