Free books for those in need

By Natalie Sit

Ten needy University of Calgary students may get free books thanks to the U of C and the Students’ Union.

The program, proposed by Director of Ancillary Services Peter Fraser, will give students all books needed for the academic year. The students are required to either return the books at the end of each semester or purchase them at half price.

U of C Interim Bookstore Manager Brent Beatty sees this as way to give back to the university community.

"It’s modeled after programs in the States," said Beatty. "It’s more like a loan than a scholarship. They get them for free and use them for free."

Beatty approached the SU for help because he wasn’t sure how to distribute the books. He thought the SU could administer the program, set the selection criteria, and assist if there’s misuse of the program.

At the July 25 Students’ Academic Assembly meeting, they discussed various ways to distribute the books such as the Hardship Fund, the Campus Food Bank or even making it a leadership scholarship. While nothing was concrete, they will return Aug. 11 to finalize the details.

"We get to decide the criteria," said SU President Jayna Gilchrist at the meeting. "This is something students would want."

Also discussed was the meaning of assisting the bookstore if the program was misused. However, Beatty doesn’t foresee a problem with students not returning books.

"We’ll absorb the costs [if books are not returned]," said Beatty. "But it’s so beneficial, students won’t misuse it."

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