Collegiate Readership Program initiated at CMU

by Louisa Kinoshi
Junior Staffwriter

Carnegie Mellon is currently sponsoring a free one-month trial of the USA Today Collegiate Readership Program from October 4 to November 5. The Collegiate Readership Program comes to campus just in time for the 2004 presidential elections. Students can access free daily issues of The New York Times, USA Today and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at centralized campus locations.
The goal of the program is to enhance the learning environment on campus. ?I hope it increases student awareness about political issues and encourages students to get out and vote November 2,? said Erik Michaels-Ober, Student Body President and senior ethics, history, and public policy major.
Newspapers are delivered early each weekday morning to six campus locations: the University Center, Doherty Hall, Baker Hall, the College of Fine Arts, Morewood Gardens, and Donner House. The Tepper School of Business has a similar permanent program whereby business students have free access to the Wall Street Journal.
Feedback from the student body so far has been very positive. ?It seems like a really popular idea,? said sophomore economics major Ryan Chin. ?The New York Times definitely appears to go the fastest. I would have preferred The Boston Globe, but that?s just me.?
Student Government is looking at implementing this program permanently. The cost of the program, however, is around $30,000 to $50,000 annually. Student government plans on issuing a referendum at the end of the year to increase the student activities fee by $4 to $6 per year to fund this program. A resolution will be introduced to the Undergraduate Student Senate and the Graduate Student Assembly. The constitution presently does not allow Student Senate or the Graduate Student Assembly to increase the student activities budget by more than 5 percent; therefore, students will have to vote for or against the referendum during the Spring 2005 student government elections. ?This is the way other programs have been implemented in the past, such as the transportation sticker among others,? said Michaels-Ober.
If implemented permanently, the program will operate on a fuller scale. Newspapers will be available at about 15?20 campus locations. Newspaper racks will also be equipped with card swipers to limit access to only Carnegie Mellon students.
The Collegiate Readership Program is presently used in 250 other major colleges and universities such as Case Western, Dartmouth, MIT, RIT, Penn State, Villanova and other peer institutions.

Erik Michaels-Ober is a contributing writer to The Tartan.