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Davis, California

Thursday, February 29, 2024

How would you spend $2 billion in the 21st Century?


In a speech last September, Chancellor Linda Katehi laid out a vision for a growing and changing UC Davis called 21st Century Plan. A large part of this plan involves the expansion of facilities like lecture halls, and the creation of a new veterinary school building.

To pay for the proposed changes of the 21st Century Plan, UC Davis plans on raising two billion dollars.

Here, each member of the Aggie’s Editorial Board weighs in on how they would spend that kind of money if given the opportunity.


Bryan Sykes, Sports Editor

With $2 billion, I would only want to invest in something that is truly worthwhile. Something that I could tell my grandchildren about, something that they could be proud of. As the sports editor, I feel an immense sense of responsibility to protect and maintain culturally significant sports.

Which is why I would invest heavily in the World Curling Federation, the official organization of the sport of curling. I would use my vast fortune to turn this exhilarating sport into the powerhouse spectacle that it deserves to be. No more should curling remain the redheaded stepchild of the Winter Olympics. No more should it be overshadowed by downhill skiing or the luge. Curling should be at the forefront of national — nay, international — entertainment, and here is why: it’s a winter sport, and more international attention could bring a heightened global awareness of the importance of combating climate change; curling has a culturally rich history, and as the sport grows in popularity, the average citizen would gain knowledge in Nordic and European history; I have a small, burning passion for this sport and I very selfishly want more people to share in the excitement of the game.


Jason Pham, Campus Editor

From two roundtrip tickets to the moon to thousands of in-app purchases in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, $2 billion can buy a lot of stuff.

If I’m giving my non-serious answer, the latter does sound appealing, but if I’m going for my serious answer, I think that $2 billion would be more wisely spent on hiring more seasoned professors to combat the increasing class sizes. A new veterinary hospital and an expanded campus in Sacramento are fine and dandy, and no one is denying that these improvements would benefit the university, but I think that before we begin expanding our campus outside of Davis, we need to concentrate on improving things at home first. Plus, renovating those alleged asbestos-exposed buildings wouldn’t be a bad idea either. But, you know, being an A-lister in Kim K’s game is important too.


Kayla Zola, City Editor

Waffles. Why isn’t there anywhere to buy waffles on campus? All I want after a long day of class is a plate of waffles with chocolate chips and whipped cream. Also more coffee. Every large lecture hall, like Olson and Wellman, should have coffee. The new coffee shops would also be equipped with state-of-the-art waffle irons offering a variety of flavors, including chocolate chip and cinnamon. They would also have seasonal waffle flavors like pumpkin for fall, peppermint for winter and strawberry in spring with toppings of your choice.

After countless rainy days spent in Shields Library, there are three things that can make my day better: waffles, coffee and a fireplace. Picture yourself in the library a book in your hands, a warm fire crackling and a steaming cup of coffee alongside a fresh plate of waffles. With $2 billion I would renovate the lower level of Shields and add a huge wood fire place and Hogwarts-style couches so that students can feel exceedingly scholarly while studying. Additionally, Shields Shots (of espresso that is), would open on the first floor, offer a variety of food and beverage options so that students no longer have to cut their studies short due to lack of sustenance.


Ellie Dierking, Features Editor

Earlier this week, I saw an article on Forbes that gave a little insight into “What a Billion Dollars Buys You.” A few of these things included purchasing Craig McCaw’s James Island, buying out the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team and endowing your alma mater like Michael Bloomberg did to John Hopkins. Although I am not nearly as well off (or as charitable) as Mr. Bloomberg, I have a few things in mind that $2 billion would help out with nicely.

One of the things I miss most about living in southern California is the beaches. With my handy $2 billion, I could easily jump on my private jet in the morning and spend a nice afternoon in the sand, before making my way back to campus for evening class. Another thing I’d invest in would definitely be a few thousand iPhone chargers (since those cords insist on breaking every time). If these, plus starting my own three-story coffee shop and maybe my own private zoo doesn’t satisfy me, a round trip to the moon and back might be nice.

However, if I wanted to be eternally loved by thousands of my peers, I could pay for the tuition of every UC Davis student in my graduating class — but that’s only if I’m feeling generous.


Amanda Ong, Arts Editor

DISCLAIMER: The following list was written by a very hangry arts editor (for the uninitiated, the Oxford English Dictionary defines “hangry” as bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger).

As an English major, I have gotten quite used to the idea of being poor for the rest of my life. And I’m OK with it. But sometimes, when you’re sitting in the basement of a newspaper office for hours on end, and the last thing you ate was a frozen waffle before your 8 a.m. work shift, your mind wanders.

If I had $2 billion, I could buy 745,716,981 bagels from the CoHo. Take that, price increases.

I could buy 666,666,666 million bags of Hot Cheetos. A pretty satanic number for the most heavenly snack food known to man.

I could buy 281,690,140 Chipotle burrito bowls. Guacamole for days.

I could buy 66,666 Dutch Bros. franchises. One for myself, and the rest to 66,665 of my closest friends.

Eventually, I must venture out of the basement and up into the CoHo in search of caffeine. And as I buy my single cup of coffee and bring it back down to our messy, offbeat cave of an office, I realize that this single cup of coffee is all I really need.


Eli Flesch, Opinion Editor

I am very concerned about UC Davis’ future. We don’t have a lot of money. Sometimes, I think of UC Davis as a person, who also doesn’t have a lot of money.

I would split the first billion dollars for the following purposes:

  • To attach a couple hundred dollars to fishing lines that will reel a group of English majors to a spot where a net can be thrown over them.
  • To finance an official campaign to recognize Hoagland Hall as the worst named building on campus.
  • For an initiative to admit more students named William Breckenridge III, Duke of York.
  • Gifting the Davis College Republicans with a fireplace in each new members’ dorm.
  • Lanyards!
  • For public blackboards that students can openly express their deepest dreams, fears and crude penis drawings on.
  • For stickers marking UC Davis a No-Vape Zone. That means you too, Terry.
  • To hire more professors who pass students based on whether they have the courage to stand up to them.
  • A new pair of rollerblades for that guy who rollerblades everywhere.
  • To finance an independent investigation as to why the Egg-Head sculptures haven’t hatched yet.

The remaining billion dollars would be spent paying the hourly fees for a group of attorneys hired to criminally prosecute any student who uses the term “Swaggies.”


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