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Text prices aid student programs

By Kris Cabulong
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 8, 2005
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With textbook prices rising across the nation, UA officials want students to know the bookstore does more than just sell books; it also provides millions of dollars to the university in a relationship unique from the university's sister institutions.

Jim Drnek, associate dean of students, said he hopes students begin to realize the importance of the partnership between the UofA Bookstores and the campus, because at many other universities, the bookstore doesn't give anything back to the campus.

"They might give a T-shirt to students, but that's it," Drnek said. "For your money, it's better to support the UofA Bookstores than any other bookstores if you're a student."

When students spend money at the bookstore, the money eventually comes back to them in some way or service, Drnek said.

Saundra Taylor, senior vice president of Campus Life, said the UA tries to incorporate the bookstore into many parts of campus life with profit-sharing relationships involving different departments and organizations.

The bookstore gives back to the campus primarily through student government in a profit-sharing relationship that helps fund programs like SafeRide and offers resources for clubs.

"The bookstore does share its profits with the student government," Taylor said. "And this is somewhat unique. ASU doesn't have this kind of arrangement nor does NAU."

This year, bookstore profits brought $502,000 to the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, said ASUA Business Manager Gail Tanner.

Drnek said those contributions easily exceed half of ASUA's total operating revenue and makes programs like SafeRide possible.

"We have done a great job of using the money for valuable programs," said ASUA Treasurer Keven Barker. "SafeRide, club funding, all that stuff wouldn't be possible without the bookstore."

Out of the $502,000 contribution, 90 to 95 percent covers the combined cost of SafeRide and club funding, which total $490,665, Barker said.

The bookstore also gives an additional $10,000 to assist ASUA's student projects, like Spring Fling and Catfest, which means student government spends less money on advertising, Drnek said.

Frank Farias, bookstore director, said in the 14 years that he's been on campus, the bookstore has provided $5.4 million to ASUA.

"Before that, the bookstore did not provide support to anybody," Farias said.

ASUA Student Body President Cade Bernsen said the partnership between ASUA and the UofA Bookstore is essential to ASUA's campus operations.

"They're absolutely clutch," said Bernsen, a political science senior. "If it wasn't for them, the UA student government wouldn't run."

The UofA Bookstores also share profits with another popular facet of the university: athletics.

Arizona Athletics has a share in all profits made at the McKale Sports Stop, said Senior Associate Athletic Director Chris Del Conte.

The McKale Sports Stop, a business run in partnership with the UofA Bookstores, helps provide apparel to UA fans attending games, as all Sports Stop sales are driven by athletic events, Del Conte said

Arizona Athletics has benefited from an additional $1.5 million from these sales in the last 10 years, Farias said.

"Our partnership is definitely unbelievably helpful," Del Conte said.

Outside of profit-sharing partnerships, the bookstore has contributed $869,531 to the university, according to a budget report submitted by Taylor.

The bookstore also contributes to UApresents, the UA Press, the UA Alumni Association and the Arizona State Museum, among a list of other campus-based organizations and funds, said Ann Wolnick, UofA Bookstores public relations representative.

"If you were to summarize everything we do," Farias said, "it is all to support the university's academic mission.

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