Student Newspaper Readership Program supports current-events knowledge

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State Student Newspaper Readership Program, now a nationwide model on college and university campuses, provides students with a broader perspective on global, national and local issues. It aims to enhance the learning environment on campus, increase students’ knowledge of domestic and world events, and encourage a lifelong practice of daily newspaper readership.

The program was initiated in 1997 after University officials recognized that students could benefit from domestic and global news exposure by making newspapers widely available to them. In addition, the program encourages students to learn more about their community beyond campus through local newspapers, which also could motivate them to become more community-engaged citizens.

“In order to participate in our democratic society, students need to be conversant in the issues of the day,” said Penn State President Rodney Erickson. “Newspapers deliver on that count and many more. I’m very pleased Penn State has the Student Newspaper Readership Program.”

The Penn State Student Newspaper Readership Program continues to encourage newspaper readership among students at University Park and at all of Penn State’s Commonwealth Campuses. At University Park, students have access to copies of The New York Times, USA Today, Centre Daily Times and The Daily Collegian at no extra charge with their PSU student ID cards. Distribution machines are located in all residence halls and in more than 30 other campus locations including the HUB, Pattee and Paterno Libraries, Thomas Building and Willard Building. Faculty members who require newspaper readership in their syllabi can receive a daily newspaper subscription at no cost.

Newspapers provide readers the opportunity to become informed on a variety of topics. “The Newspaper Readership Program is an outstanding program to use in my First Year Seminar,” said Jennifer Crissman-Ishler, assistant professor of education. “By requiring students to read the newspaper, it connects them to their Penn State community as well as the larger world community. Students are able to engage in meaningful discussions about current events in class.”

A University Park recycling initiative created in partnership with residence hall staff and the Office of Physical Plant deals with the large volume of newspapers generated by the program. This recycling effort consists of additional recycling barrels and designated newspaper roll-offs, which are large outdoor containers, staged across residence hall complexes. This initiative represents University Park's most successful recycling program, which also avoids substantial landfill tipping fees. As an added benefit, a portion of the revenue generated by the bulk sale of recycled newspapers is donated to the Penn State general scholarship fund. This amount is matched by the three newspapers involved in the program at University Park: the Centre Daily Times, The New York Times and USA Today.

Thanks to student support, the newspaper recycling effort has contributed more than $100,000 since 2002 to the Newspaper Readership Trustee Scholarship Fund, and more than $16,000 has been contributed to the General Scholarship Fund since 1997.

“Our students are leaders on campus,” said Al Matyasovsky, director of the recycling initiative. “This is an example of how the simple act of many ‘pitching in’ can make a positive difference academically, environmentally and economically at Penn State.”

For more information about the Student Newspaper Readership Program, visit http://www.newspapers.psu.edu.

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Last Updated February 24, 2012