Story of the Year 2008 What college story captured our hearts and minds this year? By Alison Go Feb. 3, 2009 Comments SHARE This poll is now closed, but the debate continues in the comments section.What college story captured our hearts and minds this year?It was the year of the Amazing Shrinking Endowments. Harvard. Yale. Michigan. Florida. The University of California system. No one was safe. Add in trouble from Bernie Madoff (Yeshiva, NYU, and Columbia Law), and you've got yourself one monster year for university funds. It made me laugh when I went back and read this: "Between Fundraising and Endowment, Harvards Coffers Look Full."Speaking of bad financial situations, here's a list to depress us all: hiring freezes, layoffs, furloughs, rescinded loans, rescinded job offers (thanks, Lehman and Bear Stearns), presidents giving up pay, tuition hikes, and most strange, students asking to pay more to go to school. Obama's presidential win was historic, but the election also reminded us that America still has some stuff to work out, even on college campuses. Just remember the four George Fox students who hung an Obama cutout in effigy and the two people arrested for the Obama effigy display at the University of Kentucky. Then there was that weird dead bear thing at Western Carolina. That was somehow an affront to Obama, but I suspect it had more to do with lazy drunk kids and prolific Obama signs than racism. Just my opinion, though. It's hard to believe this happened only a year ago, but the shooting deaths of five students at Northern Illinois, plus the suicide of the shooter, were a heart-stopper and a little too much déjà vu. Mother Nature had her way with college campuses in 2008. In February, Union University succumbed to harsh winter storms. The University of Nebraska-Kearney closed down for high winds and tornadoes in May, Indiana combated flash flooding in June, Kansas State cleaned up after summer storms in June, Iowa sustained $231 million in flood damage in July, Hurricane Ike ravaged the Texas and Louisiana coast in September ($847 million!), and Westmont College was scorched by forest fire in November.The Recording Industry Association of America stopped suing students for copyright infringement. It realized that trying to sue kids is kind of expensive and probably not best for one's popularity. View ResultsPolls close February 17 at midnight.