UPUA’s TEXTBOOKS SUCK campaign took another step toward lowering textbook prices for students after Friday’s Operation Lollipop event in the HUB-Robeson Center.
The campaign set up a table for students to stop by throughout the day, where they could share their textbook-buying experiences while also gaining insight on how they could save money.
Many students approached the table unaware of its purpose and ended up leaving pleased with the campaign’s effort to lower textbook costs.
“I think it’s pretty cool that they’re trying to get textbooks at a lower cost for the students, especially since college is so expensive,” Angelina Cave (freshman-special education) said.
Students were able to fill out a quick survey asking for their input and personal experiences with buying textbooks. The campaign had a goal to reach at least 200 responses to the survey and by the end of the day, they had a total of 209 responses.
“A lot of people have volunteered to take the survey, and everyone’s sort of been excited about the idea of not just having it but on how important the topic is,” UPUA Chairman of the Assembly Spencer Malloy (senior-philosophy and agroecology) said.
Once students filled out the survey, they could take a lollipop and highlighter, both of which had contact information for the campaign on them. The lollipops also included a tip for students when buying textbooks. Some tips included “nothing is required unless the prof actually says so” and “almost no book is too damaged to resell.”
“We don’t necessarily know what is the best route to take, and the point of the surveys is to get student input on finding what they feel might be the best route and then trying to implement that because we’re, as representatives of them, we’re supposed to do what they would like us to,” Off-Campus Representative Michael Kramer (junior-English and anthropology) said.
The campaign also had a camera set up to capture footage of students sharing their own textbook stories.
“About half [of the students] we’re going to ask their worst textbook story and then half their best textbook story. So we’re kind of saying the situation sucks, but how are you making it better for yourself and how can we give that advice to the whole student body to make their experience better as well,” UPUA Secretary Julia Schrank (junior-French and Spanish) said.
Overall, the video featured 20 participants.
Additionally, students were given information about a future Penn State Student Book Exchange where they’ll be able to efficiently sell their books to each other.
“I think it’d be nice if we could get some kind of system to exchange textbooks because we did that at my high school for summer reading books, and it was great because we could get books for like $5,” Nick Fastuca (freshman-chemistry) said.
The TEXTBOOKS SUCK campaign also featured a Textbook Heroes program for students to nominate professors who they thought did a good job with keeping textbook costs at a reasonable level.
UPUA’s Textbook Advocacy Group will interview the 36 nominated professors. Those who use an efficient system to avoid high textbook costs will be awarded a statuette and will be featured on the TEXTBOOKS SUCK website, textbookssuck.org.