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Members discuss newspaper, printer pilot programs

Amanda Michaels | Thursday, March 3, 2005

Pilot programs took the wheel at Wednesday night’s meeting of the Student Senate, where senators were given updates on the progress of both the College Readership and dorm printer pilot programs.

Tracie Sexton of the USA Today addressed the Senate during podium, giving a review of the College Readership Program’s progress and answering any questions senators might have.

The four-week long pilot program, which ends Friday, is a free trial period during which the newspaper needs of the student population are addressed, and after which members of the student government can assess the value of paying for the service full time.

Sexton said that over a three-week period, 26,889 newspapers circulated through Notre Dame’s students and faculty.

“The consumption was awesome here,” Sexton said. “It’s probably one of the strongest consumption patterns we’ve seen at any school.”

She reported that 900 copies of the New York Times and USA Today and 800 copies of the Chicago Tribune are now being distributed to campus locations daily – more than double the 400 handed out each day when the program first started.

Affirming that everything “went very well,” Sexton explained that they will examine the surveys taken by students Wednesday and begin to work out the most viable program for the University.

When questioned about the cost of the service, Sexton declined to give a number, saying they have to get through the process of analysis and discussion before they can outline a realistic budget.

Vijay Ramanan, chair of the Committee on Academic Affairs, which spearheaded the program, said his committee is looking into sources of funding, and plans to send letters to academic departments asking for contributions to help balance out the costs.

Chris Harris, Carroll Senator and member of the Committee on Academic Affairs, then updated the group on the status of the dorm printer pilot program, which installed printers in five dorms in hopes of determining whether putting a printer in every dorm would be both feasible and necessary.

Harris said he was told 1,500 to 2,000 pages were printed off in the trial dorms each week, and that an expansion to all the dorms is being considered. The cost of doing so, however, must be factored into the University’s budget before it can be approved.

Sending the senators off on a lighter note, Sorin senator Erik Powers and his former presidential running mate Alec White presented a resolution to change the name of spring break at Notre Dame to “Alec and Erik’s Week of Awesomeness.”

The pair expressed concern about a number of issues that affect the University “socially, physically, emotionally and epidemically,” as Powers said.

White protested the misnomer of “Spring Break,” pointing out that the vacation is two weeks before the Vernal Equinox that officially ushers in the spring season, and the violence connoted by the word “break” itself.

He suggested changing its title to, among other things, “A Temporary Restraining Order from Our Lady.”

They also objected to the prevalence of fake tans on the campus, proposing that the University line the sidewalk with foil sheets so students could get a tan while walking to class.

Also in question was the enforcement of parietals over the break.

“We suggest giving each student an anklet that can detect the hormone levels in the room and runs on a universal clock, so if there’s too much of the wrong hormone in a room after midnight or two, you get a little shock,” White said.

They also proposed that students write a one-page report on their vacation experiences, and that a booth with pin-up crucifixes be set up in LaFortune so everyone can be sure the rooms they stay in over break have one.