Student handbook to become online-only

Joshua Ceballos/Assistant News Director

Some students may remember receiving student handbooks during orientation, or even picking them up for free from the Campus Life office, but physical copies will become a thing of the past.

The Student Government Association and Campus Life have opted to phase out physical agendas in favor of digital copies available on the Student Affairs, Campus Life and Student Code of Conduct websites, according to Jose Toscano, the director of Campus Life at Modesto Maidique Campus.

“The agendas have been around since I was a student in the 1990s, and they were basically a way for students to keep track of the University’s policies and important dates like add/drop dates and final exams week,” said Toscano. “Unfortunately that nostalgic feeling [of holding one in your hand] will be gone, but I think it’s positive that everything now is through technology.”

Originally, all students who took part in orientation would receive a free handbook, which came with a calendar and several pages of information such as department phone numbers and campus maps. After orientation, any leftover handbooks would be available for free at the Campus Life table during Week of Welcome, and any left after that would be given away in the Campus Life office in Graham Center room 2240.

Students like Rafael Centeno, sophomore mechanical engineering major, are unphased by the news of the change.

“I never used the handbook I got during orientation, I actually removed the spine and recycled it. I prefer writing my notes on blank sheets of paper, and if anyone wants the info they can look online,” Centeno said to Student Media.

Other students, such as Audree Marante, a senior majoring in English, think this is a bit of a disappointment as physical copies are easier to use.

“There are students who can’t afford an agenda, and I know for my freshman year that book was a staple for me, it helped me keep track of dates and assignments,” said Marante. “I think the digital copy will take up space on my phone, and I’m a visual learner so I need to write things down.”

The printing and distribution of all the handbooks for students was a costly affair, according to Toscano, with the total bill for approximately 15,000 books landing somewhere around $40,000 a year.

The money would come from activities and service fees that students pay each year, and would be allotted by the Student Government Budget committee, which consists of the presidents and comptrollers from MMC and Biscayne Bay Campus. Krista Schmidt, incumbent SGC-MMC president, spoke to  Student Media via email and explained why the committee chose to go paperless.

“The committee recognized that the handbook is widely not used by students throughout the year. It was mentioned during budgets that the FIU policies would no longer be included in the handbook as they were cutting down on pages,” Schmidt’s email read. “We felt that having the handbook online was efficient. The money not spent was allocated into the 2018-2019 budget.”

The savings of going online-only are significant, according to Toscano.

The cost for putting a presentable and user-friendly handbook pdf on FIU websites is only about $2,000 dollars, according to Toscano, so approximately $38,000 of A&S fees are being saved and allotted to other departments and projects as part of the 2018-2019 budget allocation. The 2018-2019 budget is currently unavailable online at the time of this writing.

Students can also visit the ‘survival guide’ link on the student affairs website, which has such resources as library hours, event dates, links to advisor appointments, and the academic calendar.

Feature Image retrieved from Flickr.

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