Many of us students at Penn State received several emails over the past few weeks asking for suggestions for what the Penn State Class of 2014 should give as their senior class gift. From October 14-18, seniors, classified as anybody graduating in May, August, or December of 2014, had their chance to vote from three out of over 150 suggestions that students, as well as faculty and staff, suggested. Chosen by the 2014 Senior Class Gift Committee as the top three were The Heritage Tree Endowment, a contribution to Penn State’s Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), and a donation to the HUB Green Roof Terrace. This information, and descriptions of each of these choices, are found here.
The article I first found that discusses the result of the senior class voting can be found here. This article, written for the Daily Collegian, the local Penn State newspaper, has a strong opinion that the class’s decision did not live up to its potential. The winner of the vote was the donation to the HUB Green Roof Terrace. The author of this article is not explicitly named, but he supports his opinion throughout the article.
The author starts his use of rhetoric with the title, “Senior Class Gift Misses Chance to Leave a Legacy.” First, this title sounds confident, putting out his opinion loud and clear. By beginning with this strong, opinionated statement, he catches the attention of the readers, either because they are curious about to hear his opinion or because they disagree with it in some way. He then begins his article with an interesting line: “The sunlight in our eyes, streaming onto a beautiful rooftop terrace has blinded us to what is truly important — the well-being of our fellow students.” Besides being a creative sentence with an obvious message he builds ethos, showing that he’s a fellow student.
Next, he utilizes logos as he asks the reader how much they have truly stopped to appreciate all the past senior class gifts that have contributed to the campus that most people seem to take for granted. He then supports his opinion about the gift, continuing his use of logos and some pathos, as he explains how much contributing to CAPS would have truly helped students who need the support instead of donating money to help the construction of the terrace, which he mentioned was already in the blueprint. So, instead of making a difference in the well-being of the students here, the class has donated that money toward “another place on campus to sit alone with headphones on and drown out your surroundings while you kill time before your next class.”
Overall, through the effective use of rhetoric, this article represents civic engagement. The author uses his opinions and supporting examples to argue that the class of 2014 could have chosen a more beneficial gift for the Penn State community. By arguing this, he is effectively asking future classes not to do something similar, but to choose a more serviceable gift that will better help future Penn Staters for generations to come.