Barnes and Noble’s imminent takeover of the Whitman bookstore has “opened the floodgates” for companies that hope to make part of the school their own, inundating the Whitman administration with dozens of proposals, good and bad.
These include Fed Ex’s offer to run the mail center, a McDonald’s proposal to operate the grill station at Cleveland Commons and to turn Stanton hall into a Marriott hotel.
These offers have gained varying amounts of traction. Negotiations with NPR to make the college radio station, KWCW, a local affiliate, are going quite well. On the other hand, Frito-Lay’s plan to build bleachers around Ankeny field, converting it into the “Funyun Onion Crunch-tastic Stadium,” was resoundingly rejected.
Even SeaWorld has attempted to take advantage of the opportunity, promising to maintain and improve Lakum Duckum and to provide hourly shows where ducks would jump through hoops. However, given their reputation, the proposal was met with utter disdain, and the SeaWorld representatives were sent packing, their heads hung low.
While these plans would entail big changes for the college, they could also help Whitman financially, says the administration. While investments in the campus from big companies could be a major boon, students are concerned over the potential tradeoffs.
“I’m worried about how this will impact Whitman’s identity,” said one student. “If we saturate the school with these companies and commodify everything, then our campus will lose what makes it unique.”
Other students are fully onboard with the proposals. “These deals will be great for Whitman, but not as great as the taste of Mountain Dew Baja Blast,” said another student. When asked if they were being paid to say that, the student turned and ran away, showing off his jacket emblazoned with the Mountain Dew logo.