Appreciate campus memorabilia


Brian Bauer

A statue honoring women in engineering titled “The Quintessential Engineer” is unveiled on the Engineering Quad on Friday. Columnist Saketh Vasamsetti thinks students should pay more attention to campus donations from other classes and faculty members.

By Saketh Vasamsetti, Columnist

This past weekend saw the reveal of the new “Quintessential Engineer” sculpture on campus, helping to re-amp respect for all of the women in engineering here at the University.

Chicago sculptor Julie Rotblatt-Amrany is the creator of the statue. While it is a beautiful work of art, the statue’s larger message pushes to represent a more forward-thinking work field in the engineering industry. The “Quintessential Engineer” has since been a center point of attraction on the Engineering Quad.

However, with all of the hype and newfound love for the statue, it seems that students may have diverted much of their attention from all of the other memorabilia on campus, donated by both faculty members and past senior classes. Most of the time, the memorabilia is taken for granted or students are not even aware of what was gifted to the University from outside sources.

Perhaps one of the largest and most used locations on campus is the UGL. Students have spent countless hours at the library using it for its phenomenal resources. When one walks to the UGL, the entrance is open and welcoming, with very minimalistic features such as the few benches that surround the center courtyard.

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With the thousands of students who come and go from the building on a daily basis, few may know that the landscaping and decoration of the UGL courtyard was a gift from the class of 1916.

Without such knowledge, students may never be able to appreciate the UGL and many other memorabilia to their fullest potential.

The iconic furnishing in the Illini Union as well as the multiple oil paintings in the building have been donated by former classes and students. The Diana Fountain that stands tall on the side of the Union was a gift from Time Incorporated on behalf of the class of 1921. Even the school’s crowned possession, the Alma Mater, was funded through various graduating classes.

All were given to the University in order to pay homage to the wonderful times those students had at the University.

Knowing that an entire class of former students cared enough to help fund such thoughtful gifts gives them an entirely different appeal.

Memorabilia were built with love and care for this University and they should be used to motivate students to always strive for excellence. Without knowledge of where many of the school’s notable characteristics come from, students can easily take advantage of things and carelessly use them. This may lead to destruction of property or neglected care.

With yet another year coming to an end, students should take time out of their day to simply look back at the University for all that it is and thank the orange and blue for all of its wonderful gifts.

Saketh is a freshman in DGS.

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