It must have been a particularly long, hard winter in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, for the marketing whizzes at the local university to have come up with this idea: an eBay auction in which bidders compete for one year of college tuition, room and board at Oklahoma Wesleyan University (which bills itself as the 12th ranked Christian university in the country).
So far, 12 bidders have gone back-and-forth on this gem of a gift for that special someone in their lives. The current bid is $18,669.99.
So I ask: Is the school so desperate for students that it needs to auction off one full year at OWU? Or, is it a sly, guerilla marketing ploy aimed at breaking OWU into the top 10 Christian college rankings? Regardless of the motive, I wonder why they’ve limited themselves to just one year’s tuition, room and board? Why not auction off a guaranteed 3.0 GPA as well? How about a weekend’s worth of wining and dining with the school president and his/her significant other? Since it’s a Christian school, maybe OWU can up the ante and even auction off guaranteed access to the Pearly Gates. Wonder what the opening bid on that would be?
OWU administrators should have weighed the image and reputation impact on the school before embarking on such a hare-brained scheme. How credible is an institution that gives away a spot to the highest bidder? What does it say about the rigor of the curriculum? How demeaning is such a ploy to the other students and their families who have actually earned their way into OWU? And didn’t Christ have an issue with moneychangers towards the end of his career?
The OWU/eBay auction is wrong in every conceivable way. One positive outcome, though, might be an opportunity to change the school’s name to something that more accurately reflects its Las Vegas-type approach to higher education. Here are my thoughts:
– OWU is renamed Online Wagers University
– Alternatively, to reflect its new, digital initiative, Oklahoma Wesleyan becomes eOWU
– The school’s nickname is changed to God’s Gamblers. Heaven’s Heathens? How about The Auctioning Angels?
OWU may have started an interesting trend that could result in future online partnerships between religious organizations and eBay. Why not have the Catholic Church auction off one year’s tuition, room and board for wanna-be priests and nuns? How about the Episcopalians holding an online bid to pay for a particularly deserving deacon’s honeymoon expenses? Synogogues could weigh in and auction a trip to the Holy Land to the highest bid from rabbinical students.
The sky’s the limit (literally). So, let the bidding begin…..