At its Wednesday meeting, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) debated the content of a new handbook, full of advice to students about cost-cutting measures they can take amidst tough economic times.
The handbook, called "Bowdoin's Handbook for Students on a Budget," is the brainchild of At-Large Representative Rasha Harvey '12. It contains financial tips on a variety of subjects, including transportation, food, health and wellness, textbooks, and entertainment.
Vice President for Student Government Affairs John Connolly '11 said that the guide was put together by Harvey, Vice President for Student Affairs Carly Berman '11, and BSG's Student Affairs Committee.
"We got together and we realized that students were having trouble making ends meet, especially new students, since they usually spend the most amount of money their freshman year," Connolly said. "But it is for everyone, every Bowdoin student."
During the meeting, student representatives examined the rough draft of the handbook, offering suggestions and criticism. The tone of the handbook was repeatedly criticized for being disparate from section to section, to which Berman responded, "We [will] go through it all to make sure it is in a consistent voice."
Class of 2010 Representative Rutledge Long argued that the guide should list activities that cost little or nothing to participate in, such as "join[ing] a club, like the history club."
He also advocated that igloo building be included as a low-budget activity in the entertainment section.
"I've built a snow igloo the last two years, and it has been extremely satisfying," he quipped.
Connolly said that he believed the guide had been well received by the student government representatives.
"I thought that it was great," he said. "We got some broad picture stuff, as well as some minute details. I think the whole guide is valuable and I think the sections on cheap entertainment, transportation, and how to avoid fees are going to be especially important."
Long also expressed satisfaction with the overall quality of the guide.
"I was pleased with the cost-cutting guide," he wrote in an e-mail to the Orient. "I think it's a clever concept, and it indicates to me that the BSG is thinking critically about how the economic situation is affecting students' day-to-day lives."
BSG President Sophia Seifert '09 said in an e-mail that several departments on campus would be contacted "about what sorts of free or low-cost services they provide," in order to make the guide as complete as possible.
"Ensuring a quality document is the guiding principal behind the release date for the cost-saving guide," she said. "For the time being, the guide is targeted at incoming first-years, to be distributed over the summer before their arrival. However, we may boil down some of the content into an upperclassmen tip sheet or something of that nature."
In other business, two funding proposals were passed during the meeting.
BSG unanimously approved a funding request from the Facilities Committee to continue supporting the shuttle service that provides service to Portland, Freeport, and Cook's Corner.
The night taxi that augments Security's Shuttle Service and a new "bowling bus" that will run to the bowling alley on Thursday nights both received funding as part of the request. The shuttle service and night taxi were allocated $4,500 while the bowling bus received up to $500 in financial support.
The other proposal that passed was a funding request from the BSG Affairs Committee to place a coupon in the BSG newsletter, in an effort to encourage students to read the publication. The coupon will provide a discount towards the purchase of reusable water bottles from the Bowdoin bookstore, providing students with a sustainable alternative to bottled water.