Co-op asks faculty for on-time book lists

Audrey White

If all faculty submit their book lists to the University Co-op before the Oct. 31 priority deadline, the bookstore could save $250,000 — translating into serious savings for students.

When the store receives book requisition lists by that date, it helps store management determine how many books to buy back from students and gives the Co-op time to shop around for prices on used books from wholesalers, said Chad Stith, director of course materials. About 60 percent of faculty usually submit their requisitions on time. When the store gets book requests late, it doesn’t buy as many books from students and ends up having to buy a greater number of more expensive new books from publishers, so students lose money in two ways.

“[Prompt book list submissions] can easily mean a quarter of a million dollars per semester in savings, because there are more used books at the Co-op and better payout at buyback,” he said.

Business junior Chase Covington, a Student Government liberal arts representative, is spearheading a letter-writing campaign to encourage faculty to submit their lists on time.

At its Oct. 12 meeting, SG passed a resolution authored by Covington to support efforts to increase timely requisition requests. He has met with student organizations to ask their members to urge professors to submit their lists on time during class, at office hours or by e-mail.

Stith said when the inquiry comes from SG and other students, professors know prompt submission of book lists doesn’t only help the Co-op. After a similar SG initiative in fall 2009, 102 more faculty members submitted their requisitions on time than in the previous fall. Covington said he hopes this year will be more successful and far-reaching.

“There is still a lot of room for improvement,” he said. “We can institutionalize this so it happens every semester and it will be easier to implement.”

Covington and other SG members will distribute letters and e-mails to department heads next week and continue to ask students to speak with their professors directly leading up to the Oct. 31 deadline.

Philosophy professor Ian Proops, who teaches Introduction to Philosophy, along with upper-division and honors courses, said he is trying to get his textbook list in before the priority deadline, but the requisition comes at a time when midterm exams, papers and other administrative tasks are piling up. A personal conversation with a student would be more encouraging than an e-mail or letter, which might look like spam, he said.

“These kinds of things tend to come up with a lot of other requests at the same time,” Proops said. “It would be worth making it more broadly known that students save money if we do that on time, and it would be helpful if students spoke to their professors in person.”