Newspaper program to soon require i-cards

Though the Collegiate Readership Program hit snags with installing closed bins, the program should be fully implemented come Thanksgiving Break.

This fall, a $2 non-refundable student fee was introduced to fund the program, which provides free copies of USA Today, the Chicago Tribune and the New York Times to students. The open-air bins will be replaced with closed bins with i-card readers, said Kara Beach, press secretary for the Illinois Student Senate.

There will be about 15 closed bins, six of which will be in residence halls, including Illinois Street, Pennsylvania Avenue, Allen and Sherman, said Emily Ganschinietz, ISS Collegiate Readership Program committee chair.

The USA Today Company, which will finance the new closed bins, took longer than expected and ISS wanted to move ahead and get newspapers on campus, Beach said.

“The USA Today Company is responsible both in the administrative and financial sense to put the bins together and to put them on campus,” she added.

The new bins will look like traditional newspaper bins, but instead of putting coins in, students will swipe their i-cards to access the newspapers, Beach said.

“That way someone in Urbana can’t get a free newspaper,” said David Wall, ISS vice president-external.

Wall said there is not a limit on how many newspapers students can take. Other schools in the Big Ten Conference that have this program advised the senate to use the closed bins.

Rhonda Kirts, associate dean of students, said she and members of ISS will meet with the USA Today Company this week.

“They will give us a report and then we will have a better estimate of how many papers are being used,” she added.

Another complaint that ISS received about the program is that students want to see more papers.

“It is not a direct complaint, but it certainly shows the popularity of the program and that students actually want the papers,” Beach said.

The company has already made some changes in distribution, for example more newspapers are being distributed at Gregory Hall because they are gone more quickly. Kirts said the University is not charged for any papers that are left.