The New York Times is available for students in the UC on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016. The New York Times is available in the UC and Williams Hall along with 65 online passes for students. (Gracie Chavers/B&W Staff)

New York Times offered to Lehigh students for free

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Lehigh students now have the opportunity to read the New York Times for free both online and in print.

This free access to news is courtesy of Student Senate and its student initiatives committee’s ongoing attempt to provide Lehigh students and faculty with an additional news resource.

The Student Initiatives Committee, a sub-committee of Student Senate that handles general concerns and suggestions at Lehigh, took this on as a project after considering the multifaceted benefits of giving students access to such a well-known publication.

“It provides a lot of benefits for students, both educationally and for those who just enjoy the New York Times and keeping up with current events,” said Cody Haas, ’17, co-chair of the committee. “It’s just another free resource that we can try to give the community that really has no downsides.”

The project was initially headed by Eden Weinflash, the committee’s former chair. After she left to study abroad, her position was filled by Haas and Roshan Giyanani, ’19, who saw the project through to completion.

Although copies of the New York Times are available to students free of charge, providing those newspapers is fairly expensive. The committee is continually searching for new ways to fund the project. In its first semester, donations from Lehigh’s Provost Office, the Residence Hall Association and International Affairs covered expenses for the project with a collective donation amount of $3,500.

The Office of International Affairs began contributing under former Vice President Mohamed El-Asser, according to Emily Groff, director of communications and marketing at the Office of International Affairs.

“We continue to do so because we believe Lehigh students should be informed about what’s going on in the world, and this is a great way to do that,” Groff wrote in an email.

Finding ways to continue to pay for the New York Times, especially in the project’s fledgling stages, is complicated by the committee’s inability to self-fund the project. The student initiatives committee is prohibited from fundraising for the money and instead must rely on donations from sponsors, Haas said. He said that in the future the committee intends to seek out funding from other Lehigh-based departments as well, in order to expand the project.

The committee hopes that this resource is noticed by students on campus.

“I think there’s a twofold impact to this program,” Haas said. “First is generally just providing the New York Times and news for free to the students and to the campus. And the second impact that I would personally want to see is that students can notice that we have the New York Times available and that the resource is available because of grassroots efforts like Student Senate and Student Initiatives.I just want students to know that if there’s a project, if there’s something they want to see come to Lehigh, Student Senate and Student Initiatives can get it done.”

Copies of the New York Times can be found on the first floor of the UC and in William’s Hall. In addition to these physical copies, 65 online passes are available every day.

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