Is Hamilton wasting its money on banners?

By Courtney Kaplar ’16

Anyone who uses Martin’s Way to get across campus has probably noticed the recent addition of banners attached to the lampposts. They alternate between buff and blue and feature the College’s motto, “Know Thyself”, and phrases from its constitution such as “Cultural Diversity” and “Creativity.”

Apparently, the banners were commissioned in order to make Hamilton appear more collegiate since other NESCAC schools also have similar ones, most notably Williams College. Somehow, I don’t believe that putting new decorations on Martin’s Way will make a big difference in our U.S. News and World Report ranking. Martin’s Way was much better when it wasn’t crowded with signs reminding us of the academic standards we are supposed to live up to.

So, what is the huge deal about these banners? As much as I dislike the banners in terms of their aesthetics—do they all have to be so close together?—we could have definitely found a better use for the money.  Housing improvements, more grants, a wider variety of classes, a frozen yogurt machine in Commons—the possibilities endless.

Of course, the banners do have some sort of a purpose. They are meant to make Hamilton look like all of the other NESCAC schools—another reason to dislike them. Why do we have to appear like other colleges? Shouldn’t we embrace being different from them?

It also seems that with the ongoing problem of vandalism on this campus, the new banners are bound to cause some problems. In fact, one of them on the lamppost outside of Commons has already been taken down, although the reason is unknown. The question is: will we continue to replace the banners if they are stolen or ruined?

As much as I personally dislike the banners on Martin’s Way, they really do not have much of a direct impact on anything significant. I guess that I am just going to have to deal with it and hope that I don’t have to cross from KJ to CJ very often during my senior year.


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