As of January 2009, Colgate students who pre-order their textbooks from the Colgate Bookstore online will be able to view the ISBN numbers and authors of their required books before purchasing them. This change is the result of cooperation between the Student Government Association (SGA) leadership and Bookstore staff as well as Colgate administrators and Information and Technology Services (ITS).
A textbook ordering form will be available on the Colgate portal rather than only through the Bookstore’s Web site, and the form, along with the information, will remain accessible all year round.
President of SGA senior Dave Kusnetz and Vice-President of SGA senior Melissa Madaio said that they began looking at this issue in earnest during Leadership Institute this summer, when many student leaders approached them to ask what could be done about the textbook purchasing system or book prices.
“This was not on our original platform,” Kusnetz said. “[It was] one of those perennial issues that had never gotten solved.”
In 2008, the College Opportunity and Affordability Act (H.R. 4137) passed, requiring universities to publish identifying information for textbooks so that students would be able to shop for the most competitive price on the correct editions of textbooks. Though the law passed in 2008, it does not go into effect until 2010.
After Kusnetz and Madaio approached representatives from the Bookstore, Marketing and Assistant Textbook Manager Marty Bair and Assistant Director and Textbook Manager Linda Miers contacted peer institutions, none of which had even taken the first steps towards implementing this law.
With the help of Vice President for Community Development Joanne Borfitz and Web Developer Erik Moore, the new information technology was put in place and the new Web site was ready for launch within two months of the beginning of the project.
“We’re a service to the students,” Director of the Colgate Bookstore Victoria Brondum said. “We’re not a corporate conglomerate trying to make a profit…we’re owned and operated by the university, so any benefit that comes from textbook sales benefits the students.”
Kusnetz and Madaio consider the upcoming Wireless Internet Survey, the Cruiser Task Force’s inquiries into an Internet-based Cruiser tracking system and responding to the recent graffiti to be the next big issues on their administration’s to-do list.