Editorial: Program not necessary

NW Staff

Despite students voting it down two years ago, the Readership Program is once again on the ballot in the ASNMU election on April 8.

The program, which already faced a trial run and a campus vote, would bring two major newspapers to NMU: The New York Times and USA Today.

According to ASNMU, the initiative on the 2006 ballot was worded in a confusing manner. Therefore, the group has opted to once again put the matter to a campus-wide vote.

The reasoning behind the program seems to be that the papers will provide NMU students, who have earned a reputation for being apathetic, with up-to-date news. But the drawbacks clearly overshadow the benefits.

The most obvious drawback is the cost. If the program is reinstituted, NMU students will see an increase of $5.76 in their annual Student Activity Fee. And that $5.76 won’t even ensure that every student receives a paper.

Last semester, Northern’s student body numbered just over 9,000 students; the program will bring just 700 total newspapers to campus each day. The problem here is that in order to bring an adequate number of papers to campus, NMU would face a much higher price.

More troubling than the money, however, is the environmental cost. On Wednesday, the two papers combined weighed just under a pound. Using this as the average weight, the NMU campus will generate over 3,000 pounds of used newspaper each week. While the intent is for these papers to ultimately be recycled, they will create more than a metric ton of needless waste each week.

For a campus that is always aiming to become more environmentally friendly, these mounds of extra paper mark a clear shift in the wrong direction.

Further, students who want a readily available news source can view the content of both papers online. If that’s not satisfactory, those who must have the actual paper can pick one up in numerous Marquette businesses.

Staying abreast of current events is essential when it comes to intellectual development. This importance increases even more on a college campus. But we, the student body, must take a moment to think about the Readership Program. We must ask ourselves if the benefits that we will get from the presence of newspapers on campus will outweigh the price-both monetarily and environmentally-that we will end up paying down the road.

The answer is no.