By Alicia Lambert, Contributor
For students who haven’t noticed, the card swipes that used to be on the newspaper bins around campus have officially been removed, making newspapers more accessible to both students and faculty.
Card readers were initially placed on the newspaper bins because students’ fees fund the program. By requiring students to swipe a MavCard, the bins provided newspapers only to students who were paying the fees instead of using student fees to provide free news sources for faculty and staff. Using the MavCard swipe also gave students a chance to access the newspapers before the bins became empty.
The program is funded by allocated student fees that are approved by the Student Activities Budget Commission. However, this year, the Division of Academic and Student Affairs gave a generous donation to help fund the program and account for newspapers used by faculty and staff. Because of this contribution, student government was able to remove the card swipes, providing free access to virtually everyone.
International Affairs Committee Chair and Director of the Readership Program, Jen Short, said that by removing the card swipes, they “hope to promote a culture of awareness in which students, faculty, and staff can be informed citizens and engage in meaningful discussions inside and outside the classroom.”
For those who are wondering why they should even bother reading a printed newspaper instead of seeking out news online, Short has an answer.
“Today, information is available at the click of a button,” Short said. “That information is not always accurate or fact-checked, however. The integrity of the profession of journalism and the power of communication tools is recognized and appreciated at UNO, which is why Student Government feels it is so important to keep this valuable information source available to all students to enhance their learning and global awareness.”
Ever since the card swipes have been removed from the newspaper bins, there has been a noticeable increase in usage; in fact, they are often empty by the afternoon. Since the Readership Program offers such a beneficial service to the UNO community, users are encouraged to “read responsibly.” Students, faculty, and staff should take only one of each paper at most and return the newspaper to the bin when they are finished. If they can’t return the papers, users are encouraged to recycle them.
Along with the new access to the newspaper bins, students will also have a new opportunity to talk about world news, national news and current events with staff members and peers. The faculty group, Newspapers in Curricula (NiC), will be sponsoring a large group Campus Conversation on Nov. 13, from noon-1 p.m in the Nebraska Room. This will give students and faculty a chance to discuss and reflect on different topics in the news.
The Readership Program would also like students to know that National Newspaper Week will be held Oct. 6-13 this year. A “read-in” event will be held that week at the fireplace lounge in the Milo Bail Student Center to raise awareness and support for the importance of printed news.