If there is one thing that college students hate, it’s buying textbooks. Every time I receive my booklist for the upcoming semester, it almost physically hurts shilling out $80-100 buying a single book. And I’m not exaggerating how much textbooks cost either. CollegeBoard has reported that students attending a four-year public university will spend around $1,240 a year just on textbooks and supplies.
While some students try to save money by either renting or buying used textbooks there is a much better solution: having a place on campus for our textbooks so that they can be donated to others. Not only would students save a lot more money, but it also reflects NC State’s dedication to sustainability.
An obvious advantage of the textbook donation program would be that students can cut costs. As stated before, students would spend an average of $1,240 just on textbooks alone. While some students buy their textbooks used, these books become quite useless after the semester is over.
Some students sell their textbooks, but they are not going to make much money off of it, it’s just a simple fact that used books sell for much less. With a textbook donation program, where students donate old books, students would neither have to buy nor rent a textbook if it is on their list, which can save a lot of money over a long period of time.
Besides, having a textbook donation program would be greatly beneficial for students who are facing financial hardships. NC State has reported that around 14% of students were food insecure for at least a month, and 9.6% of students experienced homelessness in the past year.
Having these textbook donation programs would help these students immensely, so they don’t have to choose between buying textbooks or paying their rent and buying food. A donation program could even prioritize students who are financially troubled, making sure they are taken care of first.
In addition, a textbook donation program would help NC State’s commitment to sustainability. One of NC State’s goals is to implement sustainability into education, and what better way to do that than to recycle our textbooks.
Book publishing is currently disastrous for the environment. In the United States alone 30 million trees are cut down and 12.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide are released into the air each year. The current system of single-use textbooks does little to curb this number. All of this deforestation and pollution is not worth for a book we will only look at for half a year.
If NC State is really committed to sustainability, then this a perfect opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint. By recycling our textbooks, students can reduce the demand for new ones, which can reduce the amount of deforestation each year.
It seems more than plausible for NC State to start a program where students can donate and borrow textbooks for a whole semester. NC State already has two libraries, one with a dedicated book storage system. They should expand and allow students to check out books for a whole semester. If NC State is committed to make education more accessible and create a sustainable future, then a textbook donation program is a very necessary step in that direction.