OPINION: $16 million for video games and a truck is an irresponsible waste of money | Opinion

Recently, NC State received over $12 million in grant funding to build an esports facility and $4 million for a mobile arena. This move was met with backlash from the student body, as seen in the comments on the original article. To put it in context, with $16 million, we could buy a 6 bedroom mansionin the most expensive zip code in the United States, in cash and there is still $2 million left.

That $16 million could have gone to the student population in forms like scholarships, bursaries, and providing programs to help students understand and navigate the predatory student loan system. With $16 million, NC State can provide up to 146 full scholarships based on merit and need currently enrolled students or those interested in joining the Wolfpack community.

Part of this grant includes $4 million for a mobile arena. Marc Hoit, vice chancellor for information technology, described the mobile arena as “essentially a truck” in a previous statement. A truck that will have the ability to play video games anywhere, at a reasonable cost of $4 million.

This money could have been spent differently by investing in clubs that help students deepen their knowledge and understanding in academic subjects. If you visit the To be involved to the NC State page and filter by “Academic and pre-professionalthere are more than 275 organizations on campus dedicated to helping students in any given field. The fields covered are diverse and vast, from aerial robotics and accounting to textile engineering and zoology.

Of course, that money comes from the state government, which has decided to invest in teens playing video games instead of more pressing issues like drug addiction and homelessness. According to Blanchard Instituteoverdose deaths increased 38% in North Carolina between 2018 and 2020, an issue the state of North Carolina could have invested money in to prevent. Homelessness in the county of Mecklenburg increased by 55% between 2020 and 2021. These are pressing issues for the state, but they weren’t significant enough to warrant more funding compared to a college video game team.

The State could also have invested in the public school system, particularly in the field of physical education. North Carolina has seen an increase in the rate of youth obesity since the 1970s, which puts the child in a lifetime of increased health risk. In 2018, North Carolina has received $8.2 million to fight obesity, but the state invested twice that amount in video games and a truck.

When presented with $16 million, the state ignored the opioid crisis, homelessness, obesity, education, student organizations, mental health, health care for the less affluent, job security programs and other programs that would have improved public health and safety. Still, he decided to invest in a video game arena and a (hopefully) $4 million truck with PS5s.

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