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ISSUE 118 VOL 11 PUBLISHED 2/25/2005

Papers pop bubble

By Insa Feye
Contributing Writer

Friday, February 25, 2005

Since the start of the USA Today College Readership Program a week ago, newspapers have been seen everywhere on campus – students are often spotted carrying around copies of USA Today, the Star Tribune or The New York Times.

The campus-wide, pilot newspaper program allows students to select one or more of the complimentary papers daily from various locations in Buntrock Commons and Rolvaag Memorial Library.

The overall mission of the program is to encourage students to broaden their global perspectives and critical thinking abilities by reading daily newspapers.

"I am a great believer in having newspapers available because it will one hundred percent increase students’ awareness of current events," said Janine Wetzel, vice-president of St. Olaf’s Student Government Association (SGA), which is sponsoring the program.

USA Today is the founding company behind the program, and the other newspaper choices are selected by each individual school involved in the program, Wetzel said.

At St. Olaf, students have access to 250 copies of each paper every day.

Negative feedback so far includes the students’ desire for more papers and complaints about increased paper waste on campus. In response, SGA is hoping to increase the number of recycling bins for papers.

As the instigator of the program, Wetzel is more than happy in terms of the project ‘s development thus far.

"From my perspective it has gone very well so far," she said.

This statement is generally reflected in the students’ feedback. "It is a great way to pop the bubble," Annie Westmoreland ’05 said.

The current newspaper program is an alternative to reading the news online.

Even if students do not have time to read the newspapers very thoroughly, they can certainly appreciate the easy access to a variety of different types of news in convenient locations throughout campus.

"You can just see what the headlines are without necessarily going to the library," Erica Savage ’05 said.

For Alison Ladwig '07 the program is a great way to save money.

"I love getting the Star Tribune. I used to pick it up outside of Buntrock for 50 cents a day," Ladwig said.

On Feb. 24, the SGA student senate will vote on whether or not the program should continue throughout the rest of the semester. In terms of the overall positive feedback, Wetzel is optimistic about the outcome of the selection: "Personally, I am convinced that the program will continue," she said.

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