EDITORIAL: Building on a tradition

The latest building project at Tabor College isn?t as grandiose as the Solomon L. Loewen Science Center or as sophisticated as the Wohlgemuth Music Education Center, the college?s two previous major undertakings. In fact, the cost of this project ($175,000) and its purpose (strength-training for athletes and students) makes it downright humble on the scale of recent campus accomplishments.

But don?t miss the significance of this endeavor. What it lacks in magnitude it makes up for in magnanimity. One of the key donors to the project is a most unlikely source: the Tabor student body. Through their Student Senate, students voted to assess themselves an additional $40,000 in student fees over the next few years to make this project happen.

In an age of youthful self-obsession and material accumulation, this is a highly unusual gesture on the part of college students…almost anywhere except Tabor, that is. In fact, this latest act of generosity continues a tradition that has lasted more than three decades, when students assessed themselves additional fees to help build the present student center. In ensuing years, they?ve pitched in other projects, too.

On a campus where one in four students participates in athletics, building a respectable strength-training facility is long overdue. But this gesture was more than an effort to bolster the school?s athletic fortunes. The bigger issue is that a school that cannot offer decent facilities has a much harder time attracting and holding students. Student Senate President Luke Haidel alluded to the dilemma during his remarks at the groundbreaking service Monday. Tabor has lost student-athletes because the school did not have an adequate facility to train them, he said.

In a few months it will. And Tabor students, whether they ever lift a single barbell there, can take pride in knowing that not only did they step up to meet a student need, they gave a boost to the entire institution.

With the kind of commitment we?ve witnessed from administrators, faculty and students of late, Tabor?s future looks strong, indeed.

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