Millions of choices

One hundred million pounds has been found to spend on the development of the University, Chris Durston discusses what he would you do with it, if given a free rein.

A hundred million pounds is a lot of money.

To put it in context, it’s enough money to buy almost a hundred private islands in the Bahamas, if you opt for the cheaper ones, and probably leave you with enough left over to fill the whole place with beach balls and lilos and all the things that only a tourist would ever need. Alternatively, if you were feeling generous, you could get yourself and a hundred or so of your nearest and dearest a Ferrari Enzo each, although the insurance on those might well leave you in more debt than a student (ha). Or if you were feeling peckish, perhaps you could be tempted with a billion penny sweets – assuming such a thing at such a price even still exists.

For a university, it’s a lot of money that has to be applied responsibly, with thought and for the greater good of all. I doubt an island in the Bahamas or a hundred Ferrari Enzos would do the uni as a whole much good, although I’d love to see the headlines if that happened. A more appropriate use would of course be improvements to the facilities: more computer suites to avoid the inevitable rush for printers immediately pre-deadline, maybe even adding some funds to the bursaries and taking the sting off of the raised fees for a few people, perhaps a bit of funky wallpaper in the lecture theatres. I’m sure a few of my fellow first-years would like to see improvements to their lodgings as well – except the ones in Talybont Court, who as far as I can tell have no legitimate reason to complain about anything. For myself, as a resident of the university halls descriptively and unambiguously titled University Hall (if you haven’t been there, you’ve probably heard of it as ‘the one really far away’) I’d like a few more facilities here: maybe a shop, or a social centre, or a bobsled run made out of diamond.
In relative seriousness, though, a hundred million pounds is the kind of money that can make a massive difference. I’d probably squander it on food and video games in a few days, but the university’s already brilliant research can always use some more funding, as can societies, the student union and support, even the cafes that we all sit and muse about life and work in, and without which life here would, I think, be surprisingly different. I’m not an expert on the university’s needs and areas where funding is lacking, but for a hundred million pounds I’m pretty sure I could at least hire someone who is.
With great dollar, to entirely misquote Spider-Man, comes great responsibility, which means that any bad decisions in how to spend it are going to be mercilessly mocked for a long, long time. Perhaps a new bar, then? With that amount of money, I’d want one with wall-sized TVs, minor celebrities forced to dance in cages for my entertainment and rollercoasters to the moon, although that last one might not be the best idea in a place specifically designed for getting nauseous. All things considered, it might not be such a bad tactic to get everyone so latrine-huggingly drunk that they completely forgot about the gross misuse of such a phenomenal sum for a few hours. Even once the effects of alcohol had worn off, the hangover would prevent any sort of cogent protest about wishing they’d had a better bursary instead of that nineteenth Jagerbomb.