Lack of newspapers on campus impedes College’s global engagement goals

By EMILY BARY ’14

Co-Editor in Chief

Extra! Extra! Read all about it … after you walk 45 minutes into the Ville and back so you can pick up a copy of the Sunday New York Times.

When I want to get a copy of a national newspaper, I head to CVS or Starbucks. But it really is ridiculous that I go to one of the best colleges in the country and have to go to a coffee shop to get the Wall Street Journal because I can’t buy a copy of any newspaper anywhere on campus.

Of course, I could subscribe to a newspaper and get it delivered to the all-too-convenient campus “center,” where papers and magazines are left on a ledge and often snatched before the intended recipient can pick up her copy. And of course, Wellesley could pretend that it doesn’t offer major newspapers for purchase because many people read the news online, which would be an awfully modern step for a school that hasn’t built a new dorm building in the last half-century and still doesn’t offer cable in its dorm rooms.

I read the news online too, but that doesn’t change the fact that Wellesley is in the clear minority of colleges and universities in terms of not selling or offering newspapers on campus. Plenty of peer institutions have them available for purchase in their bookstores and convenience store equivalents of the Emporium. Moreover, schools like Cornell distribute copies of the New York Times and USA Today for free and leave them on tables in academic buildings and other important buildings on campus for students to read between classes. Dartmouth’s student government sponsors a similar program that makes newspapers available in dining halls.

Wellesley prides itself on global engagement, and the College has recently taken steps to further its global outreach by creating a partnership with Peking University that is modeled off of the popular Albright Institute program. Professors have expressed concern regarding the partnership and others have argued for its continuation. This sort of dialogue and engagement is what keeps the campus vibrant. Imagine the discussions that would take place if Wellesley backed its commitment to global engagement on a daily basis, and not just during the highly visible Wintersession programs or summer trips abroad to sister schools.

It would be great if newspapers were made available for purchase at the bookstore and at the Emporium, but the College should take this a step further and begin leaving copies of major newspapers on tables in places like the Pendleton Atrium and the Leaky Beaker, where many students congregate throughout the day. It is important for the school to encourage students to take a break from their coursework and make it easy for them to read about what is happening across the country and throughout the world. This will help people put what they are learning into the broader context of the world around them, and help students apply the concepts they study in class to the real-world issues they hope to tackle once they leave Wellesley.

I’m in my third year of working on the Wellesley News, and I still get a thrill out of seeing College staff members pass around the paper in the dining halls, or hearing classmates discuss our Wellesley 2025 coverage before a professor shows up to class on Wednesday afternoon, or watching complete strangers leaf through a copy together on the Exchange Bus. These conversations could happen much more frequently if Wellesley backed its rhetoric about creating a globally engaged campus and promoted resources that helped students stay abreast of current events.

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