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Lizzie Duke, Reporter
Every Tuesday, red shirts can be seen on students around Pierce College Puyallup. These red shirts support the goal of attaining cheaper textbooks.
The purpose of Textbook Revolution is to switch to Open Educational Resources, an inexpensive alternative to textbooks. This task, which the Office of Student Life officers have taken on, requires participation from both instructors and students.
“(It’s) something the students care about, something we care about (and) something we’re willing to wear across our chests,” Executive Board of Operations Cole Webb said.
After student officers initiated the revolution, they realized flaws in their initial approach. Now, they’ve begun working on a Textbook Revolution reboot, an internal change they believe will help.
“(We’re) working on a change of tone from ‘the professors are screwing us over,’ to ‘please let us help you fix this,’” Webb said.
The student officers are continuing with their initial plan to pass an OER bill to encourage all of Washington to use cheaper textbooks. This bill will require professors to state how expensive their book is when students register for a class.
This change will give students the option to pick the class with the cheapest book, thus encouraging teachers to choose cheaper books or online resources. In addition, the OSL is trying to eliminate access code prices for online resources.
Changing from textbooks to OERs is going to take lots of effort from the professors, Webb said, and the OSL is trying to take a stance with them rather than against them. They’re aiming to get the student voice to affect the professors’ choice.
“We recognize that OERs don’t work for everything, but there are students who need this – who need to be spending less because they don’t have money to throw around,” Webb said. “We know it will be hard for professors, but we need them to do it regardless.”
Currently, the student officers are researching this topic from the perspective of students and professors. The soup and sandwich discussion on Jan. 20 in the Connection Café was the most recent step.
“That was kind of our ‘coming out’ party,” Webb said. “This is who we are, this is what we’re working on and we need your help.”
The student officers also have a faculty workshop planned in February that’s open to students. The workshop will include separate student and faculty panels to better understand their feelings.
Currently, the OSL is working on phasing out their past attempts. The student officers would like Textbook Revolution shirts to be worn, but as they run out of the free t-shirts, they’ve decided not to place another order.
They hope that students will continue participating in T-shirt Tuesdays, but they’re thinking of opening it to any and all red shirts, not just Textbook Revolution ones.
The red shirts reminds teachers that students want cheaper books, Webb said.
“It’s a commitment,” Webb said. “If you’re going to wear the same shirt every week, that’s big.”
Now that the student officers talked to professors and conducted research, they’re trying to be less offensive to the professors, trying to see it from their perspective. However, their stance remains the same.
“We want the students to know that they have a voice, and their voice matters,” Webb said. “If their voice isn’t being heard, come talk to us and we’ll hand them a microphone.” [/responsivevoice]
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