Group donates used textbooks to promote literacy in Africa

Elise Franco

It’s almost the end of the semester, which means it’s time to start selling back old textbooks.

Standing in line at DuBois Bookstore or Campus Book and Supply is never an enjoyable experience, especially when the bookstore won’t buy them back.

Wil Christe, president of the Kent State chapter of Golden Key International Honour Society, suggested taking unwanted books and giving them to people who can put them to use.

“Together with Better World Books, an organization that promotes literacy throughout the world, we are holding a book drive for unwanted textbooks, ones that the bookstore won’t buy or won’t give you enough money for,” Christe said.

He said donated books are sent to Africa and distributed through an organization called Books for Africa. They are used to help citizens learn to read and give them more of the educational opportunities people in the United States have.

“The ones they can’t use are sold and the profits still go toward supporting the literacy programs in Africa,” he said. “Ones that can’t be sold are recycled, never thrown away.”

The head of the project at Kent State is university orientation instructor Bethany Zupancic. She said they chose Books for Africa because it was the group with the greatest need.

“Last semester, I found an ad in People Magazine, I think, that talked about ways to get involved and help, and one was this book drive,” she said. “I e-mailed them (Better World Books), and they sent me the name for the person who headed it in Kent.”

Zupancic said it’s important for students to know about this project because what they might see as an old, useless textbook is seen as something valuable to people in Africa.

“So many books can’t be bought back, and a lot get thrown away, and this is something that’s going to help,” she said.

Christe said the drive isn’t about convincing students not to try and sell back their books. If students get a decent amount of cash back for a book they spent a bundle on, by all means, do it.

“But if they’re offering $15 back for $100, give it away to this good cause and help support the programs,” he said.

Donation boxes are located throughout campus at Stopher Hall, Johnson Hall, Tri-Towers, Twin-Towers, Taylor Hall, White Hall and the Business Administration Building.

Zupancic said no student can use inconvenience as an excuse not to donate. If they don’t live close to a donation box, they can find one outside the University Bookstore in the Student Center.

Donations will be accepted until Dec. 15.

“I think it’s important students know how much this really helps people,” Zupancic said. “Even if they (people in Africa) can’t use the book, they do what they can with it, recycle it, they sell it and use the proceeds to fund the project. I’m trying to spread the word as much as possible.”

Contact general assignment reporter Elise Franco at [email protected].