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College provides free newspaper

Sarah Voss | Thursday, September 22, 2005

First year student Lisa Anderson found herself feeling isolated and disconnected when it came to current events in her first weeks at Saint Mary’s.

“I felt so out of touch with the world,” said Anderson.

But Anderson and other students on campus can turn to The Collegiate Readership Program to keep themselves up to date with national and international news.

Started at Saint Mary’s two years ago, the program aims to enhance the campus learning environment by providing students with the opportunity to learn more about the events of their world.

Every Monday through Friday, students have equal access to each of three newspapers – The New York Times, USA Today, and The South Bend Tribune.

The papers, which can be picked up in the Noble Family Dining Hall or in the main lobby of Le Mans Hall, are free to all Saint Mary’s students. This free access has turned out to be what makes the program enticing, according to junior Sara Jane Houberg.

“If the paper wasn’t free, I would probably just read it online,” Houberg said.

Reading a daily paper keeps students from getting entirely wrapped up in school and allows them to broaden their outlook, she continued.

Some students, such as Laura Corke, use the papers as academic tools.

“I’m a business major, so I like to keep up with the news and stay informed,” Corke said.

Other students use the paper purely for recreational purposes. Sophomore Brooke Trudeau said she “reads the horoscopes every day.”

Whatever the reason for reading the paper, students agreed that the program is a great asset to the school.

“I only have a few minutes to catch up with the world. [Reading] the paper is a great way to do it,” Houberg said.

Anderson also said easy access to the paper fits into her busy schedule.

The Saint Mary’s Student Government Association, which sponsors the program, initiated the program in 2003 when a trial run revealed that 80 percent of students on campus found it educational and beneficial. The decision to utilize The New York Times, USA Today and The South Bend Tribune was also evaluated at that time.

Student body vice president Susan McIlduff expressed the possibility of reevaluating which papers to bring to campus.

“We’d like to offer more papers that students want to read,” McIlduff said.

The increasing popularity of the program is evident in the fact that all of the papers are usually gone before noon.

A $7,500 annual price tag, however, means it will probably be some time before the program can include more publications, McIlduff said.

Due to the success of the program, SGA plans to continue it indefinitely.

“The program has been more successful than planned,” said McIlduff, and it gives students “something to do while passing the time.”