Senate hears proposal

Students may soon be able to pick up copies of national and local newspapers on campus through a student-funded program launched by USA TODAY.

USA TODAY employee John Fidler provided members of Student Senate Monday night with information about the newspaper’s Collegiate Readership Program, which provides newspapers to students at nearly 500 colleges nationwide, according to the program’s Web site.

After the meeting senators said they were interested in the program, but were concerned about the cost – estimated by Fidler at $30,000 to $60,000. Students would pay for the program, either through differential tuition dollars, student-segregated fees or some other means, Senate President Tim Lauer said. The estimated cost per student would be about $4 to $6.

“When you think about it that’s like $30,000 to $60,000 that the students could be putting elsewhere if they really wanted to,” Senate Vice President Meghan Charlier said. “And I hesitate to do that until I really know that students think that it’s valuable.”

USA TODAY would run a free, four-week pilot at the university before implementing the full program. During the trial run, Fidler said, a sample of students would be surveyed twice to determine interest in the program and identify how much students would be willing to pay.

Senators said they will debate the issue at future meetings before making a final decision, though Lauer and Charlier said they may try to run the pilot as early as this semester.

“There’s still a lot of decisions that need to be made,” Lauer said.