By Mary Chan
The Students’ Union is asking students, faculty and alumni to donate out-of-date textbooks published after 1975 to its annual book drive, which runs until Feb. 18.
"It’s part of the Campus Recycling Board’s mandate to recycle, reuse and reduce," said SU Vice-president Operations and Finance Amanda Affonso. "We help other schools who don’t have the resources or the money to spend on academic books. Why not help our peers who are less fortunate than we are?"
The books are destined for the University of Guyana, which has about 3,000 students. University of Calgary Professor of Biological Anthropology Dr. Warren Wilson suggested the university after visiting the country, where he is doing research.
"It’s an extremely poor country," he said. "I know they lack books for many of their classes, and their library is sorely lacking."
According to Bow Valley College Literacy Coordinator Robin Houston-Knopf, Guyana is an excellent choice.
"Books in Guyana cost the same in dollar value as they do here in North America," she said. "A teacher in Guyana makes $400 a month, Canadian. A book would cost $26, and if you’re a teacher, that’s one tenth of your salary."
Houston-Knopf added that climate is also a factor.
"The tropics are very hard on books," she said. "So things begin to yellow or deteriorate almost as soon as they can get off the plane or boat."
This is the book drive’s fourth consecutive year, though it’s never been held as early as January. In previous years, the SU held the book drive in April, with the new VP Op-Fi finishing the transportation tasks in May.
"It’s not fair for the newly-elected official to do that," said Affonso, explaining the schedule change. She added that finding dedicated volunteers is also easier now than in April when students are studying for exams and writing papers.
Affonso doesn’t think the change will affect the number of books collected.
"We already have a lot of books, and we haven’t even begun advertising yet," she said.
The CRB pays for the cost to transport the books, which Affonso says is about $7,000. The board has applied for a university grant to offset the costs, and will know the results by the end of the month.
Students can drop off books in bins in MacEwan Student Centre, Murray Fraser Hall, Social Sciences, and Residence.