RedPages not as helpful as promised

By Niccolo Barber, Rochelle McConkie

ASUU’s began distributing its new publication, RedPages, last week, but some students were surprised because the booklet was supposed to be more than a planner.

RedPages originated as a campaign promise of the Focus Party during the Associated Students of the University of Utah elections last spring, advertising the books as a way to promote the party’s theme of campus awareness and communication. The Focus Party promised a free booklet for students that would provide information about campus transportation, scholarships, student groups and the ASUU administration. ASUU has already distributed the 5,000 planners it ordered for the Fall Semester, said Student Body President, Patrick Reimherr.

“We’re out now,” he said. “There have been a lot of people we’ve had to turn away.”

But some students aren’t impressed with the RedPages, pointing out that it doesn’t offer much more than generic information that can be found on the U Web site or in already-existing campus handbooks, and that RedPages doesn’t live up to the hype the Focus Party gave the book during the campaign.

“I ripped out the beginning pages of the planner,” said Arne Carter, a senior in environmental studies. “I didn’t really want all the advertisements. I did keep the phone numbers, though.”

RedPages provides information about student life, including a list of all student groups, campus shuttle schedules and a voter registration form.

The daily planner section includes a calendar of daily campus events, tuition deadlines and other events “students often forget about,” said ASUU Student Services Director Jordan Spain, who helped produce the book.

The booklet does suffer some first edition errors. The campus map on the front inside cover, for example, contains numbered buildings, but doesn’t provide a corresponding glossary.

Although all student groups are listed, only a handful of the groups list contact information or descriptions. Reimherr said that ASUU had to get the book to print on June 1, leaving only a week for their administration to work on it, and only the groups that responded to an e-mail asking for information were featured in the book.

“RedPages fulfills a lot of the goals we had, but because of time constraints there were things we would have changed or added,” he said.

Still, Reimherr said the book fulfills his campaign promise. “It helps students get involved at the U, whereas before they were relying on word of mouth to hear about campus events,” he said.

The University Media Sales Group raised a total of $27,000 in advertisements to pay for the book, which cost $15,000 to print. ASUU contributed $4,000 from the 2007-2008 administration’s budget for the project. A $4,000 portion of the surplus funds from advertising will be given to ASUU in advertising credit. The remaining profit from the advertising went to the Media Sales Group for commissions and labor costs.

Reimherr said he was not aware ASUU contributed any funds to RedPages.

“We came in (to the school year) with the understanding that advertisements had been so successful we wouldn’t have to use student fees for it,” he said.

The cost alone will prohibit new editions from being printed every semester. Because RedPages is a yearly planner, Reimherr said it doesn’t need to be reprinted this year.

ASUU has distributed student planners in the past, but this is the first planner with information about the U.

Reimherr said ASUU could post updates to RedPages on its Web site and wait until next fall to distribute a new booklet, if the next administration chooses to continue with the project.

Some students in their first year on campus said RedPages has been beneficial to their college experience.

“I find it useful as a newcomer to campus,” said Brandon Beifuss, a freshman in economics. “The important dates in the margins of the planner section are pretty helpful.”

[email protected]
[email protected]