Despite being cut during this year’s ASUCD budget hearings, AS Papers and the ASUCD Book Exchange will continue to impact the campus under new guises.
Their efforts will be redirected or renovated to meet the demands of the digital age.
“The need for AS Papers and Book Exchange has diminished as the internet has flourished,” said Don Ho, ASUCD controller. “When they were created, the landscape of books and publications was a lot different.”
AS Papers was established in 1993 and is an acronym for Associated Students Providing Alternative Publications Equal Resources. Its purpose was to serve the students as they created and ran their own publications.
“I believe the problem with AS Papers is that I could not find an effective balance between my vision of publications on a paper medium and the thinking of the ASUCD Senate with regard to sustainability of a department,” said Sean Dolan, director of AS Papers. “They only foresaw an online method of publishing as being viable and self-supporting, going into the future.”
The common misconception about AS Papers is that it was a unit. However, it has not been a unit since 2009. It continued to function as a special project of the ASUCD vice president, and ASUCD was paying about $735 a year to fund one position. Now, with the increase of students utilizing programs like Adobe Photoshop on their own, the need for AS Papers has diminished, Ho said.
After the cut, Dolan looks onward to a different future. His plan is to establish a class in the technocultural studies department. The class would be a workshop dedicated to alternative 21st century media.
“The goal of the class is [to create] a place for students to conceptualize their publications, be it newspaper, magazine, etc., and to find a particular style that is most effective for their publication,” Dolan said.
Dolan is currently drafting the syllabus with hopes to have the class approved and underway by Fall 2011 or Winter 2012.
Dolan is looking to integrate his class through the possibility of Student-Led Education (SLED). SLED is a proposed program whereby a variety of publications and journals run through student leadership. SLED is currently being looked over by administration, said Rajiv Narayan, a junior critical economics major and tentative creator of SLED.
“The possibility of collaboration, contingent on the adoption of the program, is certainly rich with opportunity,” Narayan said in an e-mail interview.
The Book Exchange is in the same predicament as AS Papers. Created in 1996, the Book Exchange was meant to establish a direct buy/sell relationship with students. But, with the current budget and capacity that the unit had, it could no longer service the students as it once did, Ho said.
Instead, students have found alternative and cheaper methods of acquiring their books. Sites such as Amazon and Half.com have received the popular support of students and have made the Book Exchange obsolete.
“Students are savvier and are opening the market up globally, and finding cheaper books elsewhere,” Ho said.
Richard Yu, director of the Book Exchange, did not respond to requests for comment.
ASUCD has started working with an alternative to the Book Exchange, a website called SwoopThat.com.
“It’s not necessarily anything new, but what makes it special is that basically a percentage of the revenue goes back to the students,” Ho said.
Specifically, 2.5 to 5 percent of revenue generated will come back to UC Davis. ASUCD hopes that through this action, incentive to buy from this site will increase and the revenue for UC Davis will increase as well.
“When it comes to students, we actually created more jobs by cutting these two units,” Ho said. “In a cost-benefit analysis, there is greater benefit than cost.”
AMIR BEGOVIC can be reached at email@example.com.