Crow's Nest: Co-Op or Scholarship Fund?
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Bob Collins '68 12/19/2011: I agree with Fred almost. For whatever it is worth, the notion of a scholarship fund and the concept of owning a building are not so different. The scholarship has to be funded with a chunk of capital. The purchase has to be funded with a chunk of capital. The outflow from a scholarship fund could be viewed as rent payments in lieu of debt service assuming the structure is not owned outright. The good news about scholarship dollars is that there is no depreciation or upkeep, no furniture or glass at the bottom of the pool, no drunks driving into the gate every weekend. I will let you guess where I came up with those thoughts, but any owner of tenant property around the campus has those problems in spades. The notion of tenants who are midshipmen of impeccable character did not prevent similar activities from occurring at the previous Crow’s Nest but maybe these guys would be different…or not. My point is that if we can raise the funds and the studs and studettes someday want a dedicated facility we will be one step closer, especially if we are careful how we designate the funds to the Crow’s Nest. Maybe we could name it the Crow’s Nest Housing scholarship and restrict it to reimbursing rent for as many midshipmen as possible. Tulane does something similar to that.
This almost relates to cheaply printing the history. It would be nice to have a color brochure with flashy photos of fun times at the Nest, a sales brochure, like the old Longhorn Logs. Mergele loves doing that stuff and we need a hook to pull in the dollars.
Fred Moon '70 12/19/2011: I agree that this was simply meant to be a scholarship... but I will say that based on working with the potential start-up crew a couple of years ago, that although it didn't pan out then, the idea of a co-op no matter what form should not be dismissed as the unit potentially gets larger, given that the Dept of the Navy has recognized what a good bargain the UT program is compared to the higher costs of many other institutions. The scholarship may provide the visibility to the Midshipman of the legacy and generate some interest among them. If that happens, we can do as we did this time, provide them counsel on getting organized and what to work toward. I had "house hunted" with the core group a couple of years ago - on one Sat we had looked at a couple of good houses (one near the law school and the other in west campus) - that group was within a week of signing a lease when the leader of the group dropped out because his family was moving to Austin and no one else took up the initiative. Let's get the scholarship going and get a scrapbook history of the Nest going that can be available at the unit for the Battalion to peruse. Maybe we should pursue a history that can be cheaply printed.
Bob Gartner '65 12/11/2011: When I first became aware that there was an Alumni group from UTNROTC (Bob Collins told me about it), my first thought was that the Crow’s Nest needed to be revived. That was in 1988, I think. It’s still a great idea, but most of the responders have outlined why it’s a bigger challenge now. I’ll just say a few personal things.
I would say that the Crow’s Nest made it possible for me to go to UT.
I applied for the NROTC scholarship on a whim, following the lead of the guy who sat across the table from me in study hall at W.B. Ray High School in Corpus Christi. This was in the Fall semester, 1959. He later was in AFROTC at UT, spent some time in the AF as an RSO in
RF-4C’s. I was surprised to be accepted both by the NROTC and the University. As I was wondering where to live, my sister, older than I and already a junior at UT, casually said, “Most of the Midshipmen live in the Crow’s Nest” which of course was not true, but seemed like a good idea. Somehow I found out how to apply, I think I sent in a deposit of some sort, and in due time received a letter of acceptance from the then-president of the Nest, Joe Allen Mauldin, a Marine option. This Crow’s Nest was at 1010 West 24th Street, and its phone number was GR6-3037—before area codes, etc.
At the time, the Crow’s Nest was “approved housing”—all freshmen were required to live in approved housing. The Nest was under the “cooperatives” aegis. The NROTC Unit at the time had a staff supply officer, whose additional duty it was to be liaison to the Crow’s Nest and he and his wife would be the chaperones (required) whenever the Nest had a party.
The fact that my room and board was covered by the NROTC stipend ($56, I think) was a great relief to my parents, who had very little at the time. I think they sent me $50-$100 per month for spending money, and that was it.
I was assigned to a suite (!) on the second deck of the west wing and lived with Tom Mickelsen, KJ Moore, and Howard Hamilton. Rudy Krueger was the work boss at the time, and also the Buccaneer Commander. I think the daily jobs and the weekly field days helped all concerned learn how to work with others as a team. Other than that, there were a lot of poker games during finals, food fights at the drop of a hat, initiation “rides”, keggers at Pease Park, etc. The first Vernal Equinox Fest was at Don Brown’s suggestion in 1962 or so.
There are lots of photos and stories—most guys who ever lived in one of the Nests have plenty of them. I think we started the flammable gas bag thing over in the west wing around 1963. We launched one on a Saturday night when the Pi Kappa Alpha across Leon Street were having a party. The wind changed and the bag went across the street and snagged in one of the trees on their lawn. Copious profanity and worse when the time fuse ignited the bag. Bob Gartner ’65 (Engineering and 5 years on the Bucs added a year)
Ray Adams '80 12/12/2011: I appreciate the notes that have been going back and forth. I apologize for not responding sooner. After talking with Bob Gartner this weekend, I think I may need to offer some clarity on what this scholarship is about. I don’t view this as an effort to resurrect the Nest for the midshipman. Michael Collins summarized it well. The demographics don’t support it today nor did it support it well even back in the 86-88 timeframe when a couple of previous efforts to resurrect the Nest were undertaken. I view this more as a way to recognize the Nest for what it meant to all of us. After listening to John Montfort’s comments this past reunion and hearing what the Nest meant to him, it occurred to me that the Nest meant a lot to me as well. It gave a chance for an angry young man with no money to learn how to live with 34 guys, contribute to the well being of our collective home and maybe get some experience at a couple of things like leadership and managing a business and oh yeah, get a degree and pursue a military career. I know all of us had some wild times there and they are great memories for all of us, but if we put the serious cap on we all would realize that it helped us in many ways too, perhaps to set a foundation for our own individual success to date. The scholarship is similar to the Buccaneer version that recognizes a midshipman for those Buccaneer virtues. I would see this scholarship recognizing a midshipman who represents some of those characteristics we valued from the Crow’s Nest. By the way, what do you see as those virtues you value from your Crow’s Nest experience?
I told Ed Mergele I would write an article about the scholarship for the newsletter. I would love to get some of your perspectives for the time you lived at the nest and what it meant to you. I would weave that into an article for Ed. I am very interested in your insights and thoughts on this and thanks for the emails so far. -Ray
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