“UR Here,” the book of dates and policies distributed to freshmen, is receiving a major overhaul.

All freshmen will receive the updated handbook next year. It will feature a daily calendar and a more clearly organized directory of offices, policies and phone numbers.

“Students will be able to use it, not just read it,” said Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Director of the College Center for Academic Support Suzanne O’Brien.

O’Brien, along with Dean of The College William Green, formed a committee in November to assess and revamp the directory. Because Green’s position oversees both academic and non-academic policies, there was a need to expand and reorganize the directory. Previously, the non-academic Dean of Students office oversaw the maintenance of the handbook.

The committee is comprised of Interim Dean of Students Jody Asbury, exiting Rob Rouzer from Student Activities, Rouzer’s acting replacement Ann-Marie Algier and 2005 Class Council members.

The committee also formed focus groups among freshmen and organizations like Students Together in Networking Graduates.

“We at STING thought it would be good to compile everything into it,” said freshman STING member Megha Shah. “It could have academic, social and athletic events all in one comprehensive book.”

The reformatted handbook will feature a 96 page daily calendar/planner showing important events and dates, and will have room for students to use as a daily planner. Extra space will feature campus trivia. Monthly and yearly calendars will also be provided.

“The directories of offices will be reordered and redesigned for a more consistent and logical layout,” O’Brien added.

Inspired by changes in Eastman’s handbook, the River Campus committee will be using an outside company, School Datebooks Inc., for the book’s production and layout. The company provides extra features like a plastic cover and ruler.

The use of an outside company allows the school to produce enough books for every freshman next year at a cost that is comparable to providing each freshman room with a copy this year.

The directories are expected to be delivered on Aug. 19 and will be given to freshmen only at this point.

Student reaction to the change may fall short of expectations, however. “I think the book is pointless, even if it is improved,” said freshman Lexsee Hammack. “If they want to give us a calendar, that’s great, but don’t expect freshmen to read a booklet that size,”

Others feel the book is better suited for one purpose only. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to expand the handbook,” said freshman Anne Marino. “I keep mine by the phone for easy access. It should be a reference, not a planner.”

Bobkoff can be reacked at dbobkoff@campustimes.org.

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