BSG expands newspaper service for community
In an effort to increase student awareness of the world outside Bowdoin, the Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) recently increased the variety and number of newspapers made available each day. In addition to The Boston Globe and The New York Times, Bowdoin students now have access to USA Today, the local The Times Record, and The Financial Times.
"We wanted to break out of the Bowdoin bubble a little more to bring what's happening in the world to campus," BSG president Jason Hafler '04 said. "This is one of our ways to do that."
Many students see the increased availability of papers as an improvement. "I definitely think that having the papers readily available around campus is a positive thing," said Ruth Jacobson '06. "I have seen more than twice as many people reading the paper as I did last semester. I know I have started to pick up the paper and read it more often."
Jacobson also said that increased student readership of newspapers could raise awareness of issues outside the community. "Bowdoin has a noticeably apathetic student body when it comes to many political and social issues...hopefully these papers well let our school get out of the bubble," she said.
Some students feel the new service will help spur more discussion on campus. Phillip Estes '03 said, "I've noticed students around campus and in class talking about articles they read recently-something that rarely happened before."
Estes added that the additional news sources have lessened the demand on the two papers available before the most recent change. "Not only are there more varieties of news but some of the more popular papers like The New York Times, which are often hard to find, can usually be found at dinnertime."
In addition to increasing the variety of newspapers available in the dining halls, BSG also put racks of newspapers in Smith Union, a location that Hafler said has generated "a good deal of positive feedback."
BSG contacted USA Today over break about expanding the readership program at Bowdoin to possibly include a wider variety of newspapers. The program is currently in a one-month trial period.
At the end of this period, the BSG will analyze the success of the program based on the number of papers read, and which papers appear to be the most popular. A survey of students will be taken at the end of the trial period, and used in conjunction with a survey filled out by students at the beginning of the newspaper trial period.
"We're very excited at the prospect of expanding this service, bringing off-campus news and events to Bowdoin from the outside," Hafler said. "We hope to get feedback as to the pros and cons of the system, to find out what people do and don't like. If it's successful, we will definitely do more."
The program began during the 2000-2001 academic year, and has provided free copies of The New York Times and The Boston Globe over the past three years.
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