Monday, April 24, 2006


Every year the Gator Nation does this big fundraising thing where they try and raise money for their foundation through a special faculty and staff campaign. And every year I toss it. Hell, they don't even have my correct name on it.

This year, it just got even more absurd.

The envelope I received today is stamped: "Beware, Gator inside"

So I get all excited thinking: "OMG there's a GATOR IN THERE!!!!"

I tore open that envelope anxiously expecting the appearance of a dehydrated gator to which I'm sure all I have to do is add water and he'll become life size. Imagine my disappointment when all that was in there was three lousy pieces of paper. The first one is a card folded in half with a drawing of a green alligator on it and underneat the pic it says"Show us your origami Gator" and I'm sitting there like "huh?" you got me all excited over a friggin' ORIGAMI GATOR? And OMG it actually comes with instructions. It says:

1. Carefully cut along outer black line
2. Cut seven diagonal slits along folded edge (indicated by black lines)
3. Un-fold and flatten gator.
4. Fold back each of the slits you cut, forming little triangles
5. Re-fold in half again
6. Fold feet where indicated
7. Make your gator stand up
8. Send a photo of you & your origami gator at home, or work, or on your travels to----

First fifty submissions receive a special gift.

Yeah ok, I'll run out right now and take a pic of me and my origami gator buddy at Target and send it in for a bonus gift.

I don't think so.

Of course if I do this people will come into my office in droves exclaiming "ooooh look at you and your ultra-cool origami gator at target!!"

Really now.

Along with the origami gator, is a form asking for a donation. And to give us a little push they wrote: "With a little effort, you can make something out of an ordinary piece of paper that stands up and stands out. With a few simple folds and a cutting edge, a piece of green paper can become an example of the extra effort you put into make this great institution an exceptional one....blah blah blah"

Yeah, whatever.

Every year they send this to me and every year I send them a note back to take me off the list. It isn't that I don't like this place, I do. I love my job, I have a tuition waiver and am getting my education free because of them. But I've been here for 12 years and I'm not even going into the long long list of why I just don't have the heart to pull my hard earned $$ out of my pocket and give it to them. I can hear it now, those in charge might say that overall the institution does a lot for the community and that's why I should give, because it benefits society as a whole. And it probably does! Sure think of the things that this place gives to the community. But what about me?

When it comes to higher education, staff are the red-headed stepchildren. We're wedged between the poor hungry students whose tuition dollars pay our salaries and who fill the classrooms and go forth into the world and do good things and the high-priced faculty members who buy homes in expensive neighborhoods, conduct research, teach, present papers, publish journal articles, make historical breakthroughs and new discoveries. Oh sure while many of us are loved by our departments, it's the upper eschelon ultra superior hierarchy that doesn't do enough for those who work their asses off and bends over backwards to those who don't. And there's usually some political correctness involved there.

Ultimately, it's about the "theory of justice" in that I think those who do should be rewarded and those who don't should not. For me it's that simple. I guess that's the problem though and why I'm not in charge. Nothing at these institutions is ever simple and all the supposedly simple problems have to be mulled over by special committees and subcommittees and task forces and so on. Sounds like our country eh?

And that's just another on the long list of reasons why DH and I are using our tuition waivers to get our educations, he in his chosen trade and me in my chosen area of academics. Then we won't be anyone's redheaded stepchildren anymore.

Anyway, I don't know what it cost these folks to print up this three- color origami stuff but I just hope they recycle, cause that's where mine is going.


  1. Anonymous4/25/2006

    I can totally identify with the mindless dibble these type of institutions can produce. After all Robert is a federal employee. That might be a cool activity for a kindergartener. I am a HUGE Gator fan, but I'm not interested in origami or donating money to their cause. When I donate my hard earned money, it goes to a cause that touches my heart. Liberalism in higher education does not touch my heart. Neither does the teaching hospital that used my child as a ginnie pig and now I drive all the way to Tampa for quality care. Yikes! It looks like their origami gator hit a nerve with me and they didn't even send it to me. Also! Why are they asking employees to contribute. What is up with that? It seems like their stupid fundraisers should extend into the surrounding community. If they are so valuable to the community then the community won't mind supporting them. Final point. This is typical of educators. They suck the life out of an economy with taxes, but it is never enough. They are always whining for more money.--ST

  2. One time, ONE TIME, I pledged $25. I then changed my mind, and decided not to send it in. I got harassing phone calls for 3 months from the lackeys at the UF Foundation about that. UF got enough of my money in the 90's, and if you've seen campus lately, they don't really need my pitiful little donation for their cause!!

    I am looking forward to getting teh origami Gator in the mail, though. My son will probably get a kick out of it...

  3. ROFL would you like mine Robin before I recycle it? LOL!!