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Students At BCC 'Speak Out' About College Expenses

January 3, 2013 by admin

By Ruby Goldberg

     The cost of college is an expense that many students worry about. Aside from tuition and other fees, on campus options such as dining and textbooks can run students a pretty penny. Concerns about food pricing and options along with the cost of buying textbooks took center stage at the Student Life Board sponsored “Speak Out” event.
     The “Speak Out” took place at noon on Tuesday, Nov. 20 in the Navesink Rooms of the Student Life Center. Free lunch was served along with the opportunity to voice one’s opinions about topics concerning the student body.
     After surveying Brookdale students, the student life board determined that the cost of food and textbooks needed to be addressed.
     Representatives from the college’s auxiliary service departments were present; including those in charge of resources such as the Scroll and Pen Bookstore as well as the Jersey Blues dining room and other dining services
     Before a member of the audience could ask a question, Vice President of Business and Finance Maureen Lawrence addressed dining services.
     “Dining services has lost $3 million since inception...We just can’t break even,” Lawrence said.
     Brookdale is one of only two community colleges in New Jersey that runs its own dining services completely. This is precisely the reason why outsourcing might be necessary, Lawrence said. Eventually Brookdale may partner up with outside sources such as Starbucks and Subway.
     Student concerns over pricing were well received by the reps, and compromise appears to be imminent.
     Aside from pricing, offering more healthy options is something that is important to students. Several students suggested options such as pre-made salads or even grilled chicken entrees.
     Pricing was a major theme throughout the afternoon. Many students were concerned over the expensive prices of textbooks that are offered here on campus. With some books costing upward of $150, students want to explore other options.
     “We can’t compete with Amazon,” said one representative from the Scroll and Pen Bookstore.
     Pressure was placed on the teachers, especially in situations where students may have purchased a book that they never wind up using. Buy-backs only refund up to 50 percent of the original price. Some possible solutions include faculty using the same edition of a book for longer, choosing custom books, or even using an alternative like handouts
     Jim McConnell, Student Life Board president and 19-year-old finance major, was pleased with the way the “Speak Out” turned out. He also served as the liaison between the students and representatives.
     “Everyone is here for the students. We want to voice student concerns and desires so that Brookdale can be productive for everyone,” said McConnell.
     18-year-old social science major Dori Brenner felt that the reps answered her questions adequately.
     “They were very clear about their intentions, I’m happy with how it went,” Brenner said.
     For any students who would like to become a part of the Student Life Board and discuss other issues on their mind, they can attend meetings at noon on Mondays in SLC 110.

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