Last spring, Joseph Anzalone, CC ’07, sat with his friends in John Jay reading free copies of the New York Times over brunch. He hasn’t been able to since.
But he’ll get another chance this week as a scaled-down Readership program returns to campus.
The popular program, whose USA Today-sponsored pilot brought free daily newspapers to campus last spring, will be back in John Jay and Lerner Hall by the second week of the semester, according to CC ’07 class president David Chait.
Unlike last spring’s pilot, which put The New York Times, USA Today, and the Financial Times in the hands of students, this year only The New York Times will be delivered, with 600 copies available in special swipe-access machines each weekday. Chait said that in surveys conducted during and after the pilot program, The New York Times was the overwhelming favorite of the student body.
“The program is back and it will only get better,” Chait said. He and class council member Izumi Devalier, CC ’07, hope to expand the program to include a larger selection of papers, delivery to dorms, and support from Barnard and General Studies. The program, which Chait estimated will cost $8,000 per semester, will be primarily funded by Student Development and Activities and Student Services on the condition that the CC and SEAS student councils also contribute.
Traditionally, the councils would be asked to pay at a 3:1 ratio. But because SDA has already pledged $4,000, Chait and others will petition Student Services to contribute the entire other $4,000.
The New York Times Corporation is providing the papers at a bulk, educational-discount rate of 35 cents apiece.
Both Chait and Vice-President of Student Services Lisa Hogarty denied that Student Life fees will increase to cover the costs of the program, a concern voiced in one of the few negative e-mails Chait received during the pilot program. Hogarty also said that the money will not be diverted away from any other programs. “It comes from us managing our budgets more tightly,” she assured opposition.
The Readership initiative seems to be here to stay, though Chait is hesitant to use the word “permanent” with anything involving money. The administration is “always willing to provide for this program as long as the students are enjoying it,” he said.
Hogarty said the program will be closely monitored and evaluated by both the class councils and the New York Times Corporation.
“If we’re trying to educate students this is an important way to do it,” Anzalone said. The Readership program “is definitely worth the money,” he added.
“People will be glad to see it back,” Anzalone said. And even better, he and his friends will now have a little more to talk about over brunch.