Christa Kelly, Contributor
A textbook sharing program proposed earlier this year by leading members of the Gage Center for Student Success lost the battle to receive funding from the student body government earlier this week.
The program was designed to help ease the financial burden of purchasing textbooks. Under the program’s plan, textbooks would be provided by the school. However, as Eli Baker, Vice President of the Student Body notes, this does not mean they would be free. He explains that the cost of the textbooks would be added to tuition at a flat rate. The funding from the Student Government would only be used to mitigate the cost. This means that some students would pay more out of pocket for textbooks than they would if they were just paying for their own. Other students, such as science majors who need the newest editions of books, might end up paying less.
“Imagine paying $400 dollars a year for textbooks,” he said. He adds that this gets more controversial when the textbooks you are paying for are not necessarily your own.
According to Baker, however, this was not the main reason why the program was denied. The larger issue was the funding for which the Gage Center applied for. The Gage Center had pitched the plan to the council asking for a Green grant, a source of money that is available to programs that inspire “environmental action.” While Baker agrees that sharing textbooks from year to year would reduce the number of textbooks needed and therefore save paper, he reminded council members that the Green grant was awarded to groups that promoted measurable environmental sustainability efforts that directly impacted Augsburg. He says that the textbook program doesn’t fit this description. “We can’t work with the manufacturers,” he said. For Augsburg, at least, it “didn’t sound like it’d do any good.”
Still, this doesn’t mean the end of the program. Michael Grewe, the advisor for Student Government, was firm in stating that funding would be found for the project. If not in the Green grant, then somewhere else.
Catherine Bishop, a proponent of the program and chief Student Success Officer, is less certain. She states that the program is not certain to go forward after the setback it received by failing to secure additional funding from the student government.
Baker finished by stating that, at face value, the textbook sharing sounds like a good program. However, he has doubts. Overall, he isn’t sure that it will do much good and at the end of the day “we’re focused on the students. That’s who we’re here to represent.”
This article first appeared in the Friday, September 28 edition of The Echo.