Collegian Against Print Media
Since its announcement a few weeks ago, UPUA’s proposed Freshman Handbook has been a topic of controversy. Everyone from Onward State commenters to the Daily Collegian have made their opinions on the book known.
Friday, Samantha Miller, who is heading up the project for UPUA, responded to her critics in a post on the LAUS blog, saying the argument is really about the value of print media. Is having a printed handbook worth the price tag? Miller seems to think so. Her main argument is that the handbook will be a collectible that students will want to keep after graduation. She also seems to think that having a print version will allow students to “discover” things that they weren’t necessarily looking for. She also questioned why the Collegian, a print media organization, didn’t support the idea of a print handbook. Apparently if you support one form of print, you have to support all of them.
In my opinion, the print handbook is a bad idea. I haven’t talked to any freshmen or transfer students who wish they had gotten a handbook when they arrived at University Park. Having a website that consolidates necessary information for new students is a good, low cost idea, but I don’t think UPUA is truly making an objective assessment of the issue. As they said at their January 20th meeting, UPUA is using this handbook as an opportunity to cement their position as the de facto student government at University Park. The book will be written, designed, and funded by the UPUA, and the organization will have full editorial control. If their only goal is to have a handbook that students want to keep, why not get help from a group with experience in print production, such as the Collegian (or even Valley Magazine)?
What concerns me most is how little can be done to stop the production of the book. Beyond voting out all the UPUA members who support the project in the upcoming election, it looks like the book will be printed whether we like it or not.