By Gretchen Daniels, Junior Management Major
I was surprised when I recently read about student athletes’ frustration with Webster’s chess billboard. As a student outside of both the chess team and athletics, this billboard did not send me a message of chess team versus athletes but one of Webster versus sport-centric universities.
I have never been a student athlete, aside from an unfortunate basketball season in fifth grade, but I have always been involved in school activities. The activities I participated in — yearbook, newspaper, dance teams and honor societies —never received the same amount of attention or praise as the more popular athletic teams. This was true despite any awards that the non-athletic groups received and the hard work involved.
This is one reason I enjoy and support the billboard; plus it is clever. This billboard isn’t meant to promote the chess team over athletics, but it’s meant to market the school. It sends a message that Webster might be the place for people who do not desire a sport-centric university. It is an important quality that sets Webster apart from schools like Mizzou. The chess team may be the pride of Webster, but I fail to see that as a negative.
As a prospective student, I found the chess team’s prestige appealing. It may not be the traditional structure of most universities but that’s the whole point — Webster is different.