"The Fine Print" Student Publication

The Problem

"The Fine Print" is an independent, progressive student publication, based in Gainesville, FL. The paper was started by a small group of students, because we felt that local issues, especially student issues, were not properly represented in the current student paper, "The Alligator." Currently, my university is experiencing severe budget cuts. Programs are being downsized, student fees are increasing, yet our president recently got a hefty bonus. The main student newspaper was not questioning the University's spending practices. Instead of complaining, we decided to do something, and started “The Fine Print.” We felt that the only way to make people aware of the issues that plague our university was to make the information and knowledge available. Beside questioning the spending habits of our university, we have worked in conjunction with other student groups, to suggest solutions. We have published numerous articles on “Socially Responsible Investing,” in which we call for investments made with the University's endowment to be published quarterly. The University is also installing hand scanners at the campus gyms, which we think is absurd, as everyone has an identification card. We have worked with student groups to publicize this issue as well. The biggest issue we have written about is Aramark, a huge corporation that sells meal plans to prisons and schools. At our University, meal plans force students to pay an outrageously hight price for an amount of food that they can never eat. Aramark also controls all the food on campus, and usually raises prices and decrease menu options. We have written in depth articles, as well as taken a humorous approach at times, such as “Aramark Recipes” We feel that it is important to have a progressive news outlet for students. Many students are busy, and do not know to seek out alternative information. We feel that by making it available to students, we feel we can motivate others to take a stand in issues that matter to them.

Plan of Action

The staff at “The Fine Print” has worked hard at fundraising. Our monthly expenses are about $1000, which means we are constantly contacting advertisers, having garage sales, organizing benefit shows and anything else we need to do in order to pay our bills. We wanted to have a free student publication, and we have it, but it takes a lot of work. Every month we are writing stories for the next month, doing layout, filing paperwork, etc. It takes a lot of people, all expertise in their respective field to get the paper out. All the work that we put it makes it worth it. People write encouraging letters, professors come up to us and tell us what a great job we are doing. I think the biggest impact we have made it getting people involved. Every meeting there are new people, all looking to do something that makes a difference on campus.

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