RealWorld should be a priority in budget

Citing budget restraints, RealWorld, the first student-run nonprofit advertising agency in the nation, announced it would close its doors unless the university raises $100,000.

RealWorld aids the advertising needs of nonprofit organizations in the community at a significantly discounted price. For years, students participating in the program have been gaining valuable experience working with clients and developing advertisements.

The program serves both students and the local community, and every possible effort should be made to keep it from going under.

The university has spent millions on recent expansions to the campus. The Brown-Lupton University Union, sparkling new dormitories and football stadium improvements are all evidence of the recent spending spree. Spending $100,000 to keep a successful, beneficial program like RealWorld open seems like mere pocket change when compared with the amount of money flowing into construction.

“We were needing money at the same time the university was embarking on the most expensive physical expansion, and anyone who was inclined to give the university money saw their money go to the expansion,” said Tommy Thomason, former director of the Schieffer School of Journalism and founder of RealWorld.

A university is a place to learn and grow as a young adult – not a place to eat, sleep and watch football games in luxury. Having a new union is wonderful, but it’s not the buildings that make a university successful, it’s what happens inside of them that really matters.

If the program does end up closing its doors, several local nonprofit organizations that depend on RealWorlds’ services would suddenly be left in the dark. Where will these organizations turn when they no longer have enough money to advertise?

Campus officials say fundraising efforts will be made throughout the semester, but it is far too early to tell if there is enough time to raise enough money to sustain the program.

If all goes well RealWorld will get the money it needs before it’s too late. The students and companies that depend on it don’t deserve to be needlessly kicked to the curb.

Sports editor Michael Carroll for the editorial board.