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Answer for textbook dilemma

I always read the lost and found ads in the paper. Not because I have misplaced my prescription sunglasses or found a camera downtown, but because I'm always hoping to see two ads that can be matched together. I want, one day, to see a found ad for a cat that exactly matches the lost ad for a cat. It hasn't happened yet, but the hope of serendipitously finding the matching pair of ads fuels my constant perusing of the classifieds.

It was in this spirit that I felt so excited to see two articles on the front page of the Tidings on Wednesday, both articles about Southern Oregon University. One article was the usual obituary of yet another program falling victim to budget cuts, and the other was a program that had somehow been able to find itself some extra funding.

The first program was the Library Textbook Share program. Through a donation by the bookstore, a copy of every textbook with a cost more than $100 had been available for short-term (four-hour) checkout at the SOU library. I graduated less than a year ago, and I don't remember ever buying a textbook for less than $100, and some were unfathomably much more expensive. My quarterly textbook expenditures were probably enough to feed a small nation. I have to admit, that even with these excellent, brand new edition textbooks available to me, most of my research was done with the help of "Google Scholar" and "Wikipedia." Plus there was the fact that most of my textbooks were too heavy for me to bother lugging them around, so I would use the textbooks at the library for any work I was doing during the day. In fact, there were only three things I ever went to the library for: the coffee, the textbooks and the nice bathrooms. It's too bad such a useful program has to go the way of the dodo.

But wait! There on the front page was another big story about SOU! Student leaders are going to start getting paid for all the work and contributions they bring to the university. Usually I would have no problem with this. I'm not a huge fan of volunteering my own time, so I don't usually expect other people to do so. Ryan Chaddock, the vice president of Associated Student of SOU, stated that they would get more work out of people that are getting paid, but is it worth it?

Most of the students on the ASSOU will make $100 a month, with a couple making $150 a month. Why not make a tangible, immediate difference in the lives of the students they were elected to represent? I would like to suggest to the student leaders to donate their monthly stipend toward buying textbooks for the library again. I never quite understood why students would be interested in joining student government, but I'm going to assume that it attracts people who are interested in trying to initiate change, get involved in politics and have something extra to put on their resumés, not as a way to earn a couple extra dollars.

Aaahh "¦ there it is. I finally found it. The lost and founds that were meant to be together. Funding lost, funding found. Unfortunately, unlike a found cat, I am very unlikely to collect a reward for this. I hope that funding for higher education will increase in the years to come and there will be opportunities to both buy extra books and pay student leaders. But for now I am in favor of supporting the larger student body, rather than the 25 people who I am sure are doing student government for reasons much grander than a Benjamin Franklin each month.

Zoë Abel recently graduated from Southern Oregon University. She never participated in anything extracurricular, but has much respect for those who do. You can contact her at dailyzoe@gmail.com.