Winona State University’s Student Senate wants to create a textbook affordability task force for this school year.
This task force would advocate for textbooks to be available for students to check out for their General Education classes, and also work for lowered textbook costs.
The motion for Senate stated that the task force was a necessity to Winona State students because the cost of textbooks “pose a burden to Winona State University students,” and “comprises a large sum of students expenses.”
The motion went on to state that studies link high textbook prices to hindered academic success, and faculty members should be aware of the stress that buying course materials can put on students’ budgets.
Janae Mann, a senior marketing and pre-law major, is the chair of the task force.
“As chair, I chair the meetings and keep the group on task,” Mann said.
According to Ben Ellgen, president of Student Senate, the intention of this motion is to create the task force.
“[After creation] the task force will look to explore different opportunities to create that positive change for students,” Ellgen said. “I’m confident that there is opportunity for both working with faculty and exploring new technologies.”
Ellgen said he is excited for the opportunities a new task force could bring to the university.
“This is something that has been floating around for a long time,” Ellgen said. “Previous to this year, there was a textbook task force. This is the number one issue we hear about from students.”
Student Senate does not have the authority to create a task force.
“That is actually a job for the president’s office. It’s the same for all university committees,” Ellgen said.
This motion was passed to the president’s office where Scott Olson will meet and confer with other university officials for final approval on the task force.
“President Olson and his cabinet will approve our task force charge, which officially creates the force,” Mann said.
If approved this school year, it will be the fourth year of the task force.
The task force aims to have representatives from a variety of departments on campus.
“The Textbook Task Force is meant to bring together the different decision makers to develop plans to pursue more affordable textbook alternatives. We aim to have representatives from the library, bookstore, faculty, students, TLT, and administration sit on this task force,” Mann said.