After a deal with a corporate sponsor dried up, Meredith College needs help. Their iconic lake currently sits empty due to the erosion of pipes that caused the lake to drain in March. The beloved lake sits next to an amphitheater which has held countless concerts, graduations, and events over the years. Meredith administrators expect that it will take around $500,000 to fix the pipes and refill the lake. They’ve spent the last few months working on a wide range of solutions, including a major sponsorship from LaCroix.
“We had a deal with LaCroix where they would refill the lake if we agreed to make them our exclusive beverage provider. But then students kept filling up those damn Swell bottles and ITBlessed wine glasses with water in between classes. They were calling it “LaLake Water” and posting about it on Snapchat and Instagram constantly. The whole lake was empty again after 6 hours. It just wasn’t sustainable,” said Rachel Weaver, a Meredith administrator.
They continued to look for other options. “We even tried filling it with the tears from the Cornhuskin’ losers but the lake actually isn’t big enough to hold that amount of liquid,” said Weaver. Similar to Homecoming or the Hunger Games, Cornhuskin’ is a yearly tradition where classes compete against each other to establish a pecking order for the next year.
“We also pitched the students on selling wrapping paper door-to-door to raise money, but that didn’t go over well at all,” Weaver added.
Some students even thought about raising money. “I thought about opening an Etsy shop to make graduation caps with quotes I found on Pinterest,” said Mary Lacy Anderson, majoring in Modern Romance Studies. “But then I had too much going on with planning our watch party for the series finale of Pretty Little Liars.”
Once those options fell through, Meredith turned to their alumnae for donations. So far over 700 alumnae have donated over $100,000. Another donor is willing to match donations up to $250,000. To spread the word about donations, the college considered filming a commercial featuring Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” as students surrounded the dry lake and sadly tried to hold water in their arms.
“It was real symbolic, with the whole Meredith Angels thing, and then they’d be trying to hold nonexistent water in their arms. We had a director and everything. We were going to have Sarah McLachlan come do a live performance as well. Turns out that would cost as much as fixing the lake so we scrapped it. Plus we didn’t want to make everyone depressed,” said Weaver.
The Anthropology Department has tried to make the best of the situation by letting students excavate the dry lake bed. Students uncovered dozens of onyx rings and bottles of wine. “This is a great experience for the students. Sure, there are always one or two who sign up for anthropology because they think it’s related to Anthropologie, the retailer that sells boho-chic womenswear, shoes, accessories and home decor. We just let them post pictures of what we find on social media to keep them involved,” said one professor.
Meredith now has until June 30 to meet their fundraising goal. They’ve set up a donation site and are accepting donations from the public. “We’ve seen how passionate people can be over things like the brunch bill. To try to tap into that movement, we’ll be holding lakeside brunches with bottomless mimosas for all of our donors,” said Weaver.