authors: kristian ferguson and matt wincherauk | news editor and editor-in-chief
Helping alleviate textbook costs for all
Over the course of the summer, new University of Regina Students’ Union president Jermain McKenzie and other URSU staff members have been working on a new program with the University’s John Archer Library that would help to make expensive textbooks more available to students who would otherwise have troubles affording them.
Staying true to the message that he delivered during URSU’s most recent set of elections, McKenzie has been attempting to make university life easier for the students that he represents, beginning with textbooks, a major source of headaches for many students.
This program came about as a result of conversations with John Archer, and the desire to help ease some of the costs that come with taking courses at a university. McKenzie noted that this was “one of the more popular initiatives” during his campaign for president, and set about to put it into action before the fall semester begins.
As for details, McKenzie noted that URSU and John Archer would be attempting to acquire “at least two textbooks from each class that [are] over $100.” These copies would be put on reserve at the library, free for students to use as they need them.
While McKenzie and URSU are still working out the financial details of the program with the library, McKenzie expressed his satisfaction about the program, and sentiment that the library shares, as they were also excited about the potential partnership.
“After I got into the position a few weeks in, I told the librarian about this idea, and luckily they were for it, and were excited about the idea. So we arranged a meeting and I met with them and I explained what my thought process was.”
McKenzie went on to talk more about the unfortunate reality of textbook costs, and the challenge that students face when attempting to either buy them with limited funds, or forgo the textbook and try to complete the course with the required material.
“You look at all the different expenses outside and within school; it leaves [students] in a very financially strapped position. So my thought process was, how can I as president of URSU find ways in which we can immediately have a positive impact on students financially? So the idea behind the program is to help save students money, so they won’t have to dish out $1000 or even more on textbooks per semester. I didn’t want a person’s financial position to be a hindrance to their abilities to perform well in their classes.”
While nothing is final about this partnership, McKenzie expressed just how excited he was about the current program and benefits, but also the potential future improvements that could be made to the program if it were to succeed.
“I’m certain during the fall we will probably have a big celebration about the program to publicize it and let students know it’s here for them because we want our students to use it, and we want to look at the program after a year and see how we can make it better,” McKenzie told the Carillon. “But this will only be a continuous program if students use it in the first year, so we will be doing our best to get this good news out to the students and encourage them to take full advantage of this program with the hopes that it will become a yearly program.”
More details about the program will be coming out between the publication of this article and the beginning of the fall semester. Any new updates can be found at www.carillonregina.com.