The Collegiate Readership Program will be reinstated next semester after a successful trial period last year. The program, sponsored by USA Today and brought to UR by the Students’ Association, provides the school with copies of USA Today, the New York Times and the Democrat & Chronicle, a local paper. The papers are distributed to convenient open-air displays around campus, where students can pick them up for free.

The pilot program, which was conducted for free, yielded positive results. A survey conducted before and after the four-week long program showed that students were more cognizant of world affairs and more knowledgeable about current events at the end of the trial period.

SA Vice President and junior Janna Gewirtz said that the CRP representatives recommended a $50,000 program based on the results. However, the SA decided to implement a streamlined version that focuses on providing papers to high volume locations. Though the pilot program had nine pick-up locations, including spots in Hill Court and Southside, the locations were narrowed down to the IT Center, Wilson Commons, Douglass Dining Center and Susan B. Anthony Halls.

Gewirtz noted that choosing dining halls and study spots as pick-up locations will help accomplish one of the goals of the program, building a community around the newspapers.

“People can sit down together in communal places and read them,” Gewirtz said.

The program will cost $9,000 a semester. The SA received $20,000 from the Dean of Students’ Office for the program, with the extra $2,000 acting as a buffer in case of unforeseen complications. The majority of the funding was secured on Meliora Weekend, when the Parents’ Council received a large amount of funds from parents. The SA and River Campus Libraries also contributed additional funds.

The SA decided to start the program at the beginning of next semester for a variety of reasons. According to Gewirtz, the SA had to decide on choosing locations, organizing waste management and determining logistics such as pick-up and drop-off times. Also, Gewirtz pointed out that fewer students would read the paper if the program were implemented during finals period.

“We want to make sure we have a sustainable, set program in place before we do anything,” she said.

Though students complain that the variety of newspapers is limited, Gewirtz noted that Rush Rhees Library offers access to over 3,400 newspapers through the Newspaper Reading Room and a wide selection of online newspaper subscriptions.

Gewirtz also encouraged students to share and recycle the newspapers.

“There are fewer papers, and there is no reason people shouldn’t share,” she said.

Wrobel is a member of the class of 2010.



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