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ISSUE 119 VOL 11 PUBLISHED 2/24/2006

Paper count down

By Emelie Heltsley
News Editor

Friday, February 24, 2006

Due to a fall surplus of newspapers from USA Today’s Collegiate Readership Program, students will see fewer newspapers and more re-read bins around campus this spring.

During last year's pilot program, USA Today paid for as many newspapers as students would read. Senate used part of the $100,000 budget surplus to fund the program, which averaged $180 per day.

"Whoever wanted a paper got a paper," said Rachel Erickson '06, vice-president of Student Government Association (SGA).

The recent budget cut forced SGA to order fewer papers from the program, cutting the daily cost from $180 to $75.

Unfortunately, USA Today kept St. Olaf at the pilot program's consumption level, resulting in an oversupply of newspapers not covered by the SGA budget.

The error was discovered by SGA administration after September’s bill. By the time the error was fixed by USA Today, it was the middle of December.

USA Today has taken full responsibility for the error, and, after the budgeted $15,000 for the newspaper program has been spent, will supply 270 daily papers to St. Olaf free of charge until the end of the school year.

The budget cut decreased the number of delivered newspapers by more than half.

Currently, the combined number of the Star Tribune, The New York Times, and USA Today covered by the program amounts to 270 papers.

Split between the rack in Rolvaag Memorial Library and the racks in individual residence halls, each location will have approximately 25 newspapers.

"USA Today has been phenomenal to work with," Erickson said. "They did not have to provide us with free newspapers, and they will."

Erickson noted that USA Today considers St. Olaf a valuable customer.

“Students at St. Olaf are actively engaged in reading the newspapers,” she said.

USA Today provided St. Olaf with re-read bins for students to place papers when they are done.

"It fits with the sustainability theme," Erickson said.

She also stressed the need for students to share their papers.

"I know that people get possessive of their newspapers, but we all have to share," Erickson said.

The current number of newspapers is what the budgeted $15,000 buys. If future SGA administrations continue to spend $15,000, students can expect to see the same amount of papers around campus.

"If students aren't happy [about the decreased number of papers], they should express their dissatisfaction to the incoming administrators," Erickson said.

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