Print Edition: March 28, 2012
I’m sitting in a communications class, and since it isn’t my class, the guy beside me looks kind of confused.
“I’m just here for the presentation,” I explain.
This seems to satisfy him. We wait together while a man who looks vaguely like a lumberjack and wears a ball cap writes something on the board: www.civl.ca/vote. Finally he turns around.
“I’m Aaron Levy, the manager at the campus community radio station. How many of you know it exists?”
A few students raise their hands. He grins wryly.
“Not enough of you.”
With that, he powers through the next four minutes. That’s not a lot of time, but he makes the most of it, explaining exactly who he is, what he does, and what CIVL radio should mean to the students of UFV.
“We’re asking for an increase from three to five dollars a semester,” He tells the class. “We currently receive three dollars a semester, and that’s a result of the fact that in 2005, students voted to fund a radio station … and over the last eight years, that’s what’s been going on at CIVL right around the hall.”
This is the second time in as many semesters that CIVL has held a referendum. After December’s suggested $4 fee-increase was turned down, they put together this referendum for a $2 one instead, hoping that a smaller fee-increase would sway more hearts.
The fact that they’re trying to find middle ground on this issue is one of the reasons I will always stand behind CIVL radio. They’re open, honest and completely blunt about why they want what they want. Anyone can visit their website and see exactly where the proposed funding would go; they’re absolutely transparent. They’ve made it as easy as they possibly could have for students, and if we’re not willing to pay an extra $4, maybe we’re willing to pay an extra two.
Think about that for a second. Both of those are measly amounts. I probably lose that much change in my couch every month. Why does it have to be such a painful process for CIVL to win the affection of the student body?
When I first arrived at UFV four years ago, I thought CIVL was one of the coolest things about it. In fact, I still think that. You speak into a microphone and anybody could be listening. You play songs, or spoken word, or throat-singing ballads, or news tips, or tell jokes. The possibilities are endless.
In fact, now that I think about it, CIVL’s kind of like a metaphor for UFV as a whole: endless possibilities. We’re in the prime of our lives, can go anywhere, can achieve anything. The possibilities are endless.
So why the hell are we snapping our wallets shut so hard and fast over a measly two bucks?
So here I am, telling you to stop being petty and think like a community for once. I know that UFV is only a starter university for a lot of students – finish 60 credits and transfer the hell out. Fine. That’s cool. But let’s be serious; none of us are going to be here forever. We’ll drop out or graduate, and one way or another we’re all leaving at some point. Plant some trees, even if you aren’t going to be around to enjoy their shade. Think about the future.
Or let me put it this way: the University of the Fraser Valley is only a toddler among universities, and we still have to prove our mettle to the bigger kids. Having an award-winning radio station is one of the ways to do that. According to the recent athletics referendum, 800 students are willing to pay an extra $70 a semester, some of which was earmarked for UFV sports teams to beat up other universities’ teams so we can brag about it. Having a radio station is one of the trappings of a real university, and CIVL, like the basketball team, is worth bragging about.
“They talk about the Cascades Athletics, like when the men’s team made it to the final four national tournament,” Levy says, “The first time in six years. In only six years, is what everybody’s been saying. Well, we’d been a part of the NCRA for six years when we won our national award, and we won our award – we didn’t just come in as a finalist.”
CIVL deserves this increase for a number of reasons. I’m the first to say that I only tune in occasionally, and I’m well aware that not many students tune in at all. It’s hard to work so hard at something, as a campus society, and have nothing physical to show for it; you can’t hold radio waves in your fist as proof of where fees are going in the same way you could hold up an athletics trophy or a copy of The Cascade. What CIVL produces is completely intangible.
And this holds true on a number of levels; as Levy is quick to point out, CIVL isn’t just a radio station but a chance for students to learn a set of skills they can’t get anywhere else. Any student or community member can put together a radio show or serve on the board of directors, and you can’t attach a dollar amount to that kind of real-world experience.
At the end of the day, CIVL isn’t just a radio station; it’s an opportunity, both for students and for UFV as a whole to prove that we can play with the big kids. So pull up your socks, stop complaining about a measly $2, be a team player, and maybe even listen in once in a while.