Monthly Archives: February 2019

Culture Jamming

Original Ad

One would assume that the University of British Columbia is an institution that’s sole purpose is to educate its students and prepare them for adult life. While this is somewhat true, the university also has other, more cynical, purposes. UBC is a public institution, which means it receives funds from the government in order to operate. Although they receive money, the university also needs money for its students to cover all of its operating costs. Since international students pay much more for tuition, UBC is often less stringent and picky for international applicants. According to the UBC student enrollment report of 2016, international student enrollment has almost doubled in the past couple of years, going from 5,451 in 2012 to 10,067 in 2016 (Redish & Mathieson, 2016). Although enrolling more international students is not a bad thing in itself, UBC has a negative track record with enrolling international students that do not meet the requirements that UBC has for its domestic applicants. UBC loves international students because they give the university more money from higher tuition costs to spend frivolously on different projects on campus. A constant gripe that students have with UBC is that there are constant construction sites around campus, which makes going to class and navigating campus more difficult. UBC spends a considerable amount of money on upgrading its buildings, and these projects can be costly and lengthy as well. For example, the Biological Sciences building near the UBC fountain has been under construction for years, and has cost students millions of dollars in their tuition money. According to the construction update UBC posts on their website, the projected completion of the renovation for the Bio Sciences building was supposed to be November of 2018, but it is currently still under progress. Also, the renovation is supposed to cost 88 million dollars, but with the delays it is expected that they have spent more money on this project than budgeted. While UBC is somewhat committed to preparing their students for adult life, they often do not use sufficient resources in order to improve the experience of their students, often using their money to improve its own image to attract more applicants.

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UBC is one of the most prestigious universities in the world, and it is able to support its claim as the best university in Canada with extensive research funding and highly ranked academic programs. Typically, UBC attempts to highlight these strengths in order to attract new applicants, but it fails to warn them of the greed that is present in the UBC bureaucracy. In my subvertisement, I changed UBC’s motto from “a place of mind” to “a place for your money”. This was done to highlight how UBC constantly states that it fosters intellectual growth for its students. The reality for many students when they come to UBC is that they are faced with difficult course loads, stress, and financial hardship. UBC is accused of negligent spending on its campus and outward appearance in order to attract foreign investment and applicants from around the world, but it is hesitant to spend money on projects that would improve the quality of life for its students. For example, UBC’s mental health resources are ineffective in dealing with the mental health issues that many students face. Students often complain of long wait times, inconsiderate counselors, and constant referrals to expensive private practitioners. Instead of addressing this issue and spending money to improve its services, it instead elects to spend money on other projects, such as The Shadow, which cost UBC hundreds of thousands of dollars. Another area where UBC lacks is in its physical exercise facilities. UBC has almost 60,000 undergraduates and postgraduates at its campus, yet only has two public gyms for students to use. These gyms are often crowded and difficult to use, which makes it troublesome for students to get the physical exercise they need to stay healthy. Evidently, UBC enjoys spending money on improving its appearance internationally, but when it comes to the experience of its students, it is often hesitant to spend a penny. If UBC were actually responsible with its money and actually cared for its students, it would stop using so much of its budget to fund costly and unnecessary projects, and instead divert these resources towards areas that actually benefit students, such as gyms, counseling services, and more healthy food options for students.