After a busy day of classes and studying, what else is there to do besides watch a good movie? This semester the Multimedia Center is making this easier by offering free DVD rentals to all students and faculty.

The program was spearheaded by current juniors Andy Baukney, a Students’ Association Senator, and Noah Kuschel, a SA Cabinet member. “Without cars, [students] thought it was ridiculous that they couldn’t rent movies,” commented Kuschel. “For our tuition, the university should provide some movie rental service.”

After working in the library for a while, Kuschel decided that Dean of Libraries Ron Dow would be the appropriate person to ask for help.

“I thought it sounded like a good idea for two reasons. First, it was a request from students to directly benefit students. Second, I like to watch DVDs as well,” Dow said.

Following several meetings with the Senate steering committee, the DVD program went to the Senate for an official vote. After some discussion, the SA approved $2,000 for the purchase of DVDs for the library’s Multimedia Center. The measure passed unanimously.

Dow was so excited about the program that he volunteered to use some of his endowment to double the SA’s funds, bringing the total to $4,000.

Because the library is a community resource and the students are our community, I wanted to help. Clearly this was the direction that the SA Senate wanted to go, and we were happy to partner with them,” Dow said.

Baukney discussed the positive experience of collaborating with the library. “The library jumped on [the opportunity] right away. Within a week, DVDs had been ordered,” he said.

Baukney and Kuschel asked students to suggest ten DVDs that they would like to have purchased. After gathering the results, the DVDs with the greatest amounts of votes were ordered.

The results of the survey offered a wide array of genres. In the Multimedia Center, patrons can choose from comedies, dramas, action movies and many more. Some film titles include: “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery,” “Gladiator,” “Training Day,” and “The Godfather” series.

Before this student initiative became a reality, Frank Scarceli, who is in charge of the acquisition of the collection purchased approximately 50 DVDs for the Multimedia Center, predominantly documentaries. “We are now purchasing only DVDs for feature films,” Scarceli said. “For classroom videos, we ask the professor for his or her preference.”

Currently there are over 260 DVDs in the collection. Up to four may be rented at one time, for four days. Movies are listed in the Multimedia Center’s search engine. If a movie is out, it can be reserved. The DVDs can be returned to either the Multimedia Center, or they can be put in the video drop-box. There is a one dollar fine for each day that a movie is late.

According to Multimedia Center employees, since the new rentals became available, they have been flying off the shelves. On any given day, one may find only 50 DVDs available because they are so popular. According to Baukney and Kuschel, that is just a testament to how successful the program is.

Baukney and Kuschel are exploring their options in hopes of expanding the DVD collection again in the very near future. In addition to new feature films, they hope to add some duplicate copies of the DVDs which are virtually always checked out.

“It’s a great program,” freshman Nancy Mahadeo said, “The library offers so many free DVDs.”

Keesing can be reached at jkeesing@campustimes.org.



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