New fountains propel UBC past Harvard in rankings

PPFountainVANCOUVER (The News Desk) — The Times Higher Education university rankings have placed the University of British Columbia second in the world, one spot above its historic rival, Harvard University.

Editors of the rankings cited UBC’s recently completed $250 million campus beautification project — in particular the construction of 12 “awesome” new fountains — as the deciding factor.

University administrators were pleased but not surprised by the result. “Tuition dollars have to be spent carefully in the current fiscal climate. Fountains were clearly the right choice here,” explained Campus Planning official Martha Bort.

Students were also unsurprised by the result. “My favourite has always been the one that spouts only pure Dom Pérignon,” said arts undergraduate Kaveh Sarhangpour as he bathed in the fountain of sparkling wine. “I’m glad our fountains are getting the recognition they deserve.”

“The fountains have added so much depth to my education here at UBC,” said graduate engineering student Jessica Bruce. “They have forced me to reconsider what a fountain is. Is it a place for bathing? A place to release your roommate’s goldfish? Or are fountains just giant urinals for inebriated people?”

But some faculty members have expressed concerns about the impact of the fountains on student learning. “People come to UBC and all they want to do is look at the fountains. Shouldn’t there be more to university than just fountains? Maybe I’m crazy,” said sociology professor Wilfred Koerner.

UBC later announced it will begin construction on a full-scale replica of Caltech, this year’s No. 1–ranked university. ♦