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How UMBC can improve access to stationery on campus

For students and staff rushing to and from class, the ability to buy their office supplies quickly is essential for being prepared for their day. Mark Beachy, a freshman studying Asian studies, summed up the situation: “Obviously, we are here to go to school and so we need school supplies and a convenient way to get them.”

Despite this need, UMBC’s primary way to supply students with quick access to office supplies comes in the form of the UMBC Bookstore, which is only open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays. While the bookstore attempts to offer students office supplies throughout the year, it is not serving its intended purpose well enough for many students.

Students at UMBC feel as though the prices of office supplies on campus within the UMBC Bookstore are too high, especially for the lack of variety in the store’s offerings. As a result, they often buy the same items online through other retailers or at stores such as Walmart or Target. When asked, however, many students admit that if there was a cheaper and more efficient option made available, they would probably buy more of their supplies on campus.

One of the ways that students suggested would be more effective in getting them to buy supplies on campus would be to make goods more accessible and to have more options in the school bookstore sold at a lower rate. Furthermore, students suggested that although the store has an online shop open to students, the school should extend the physical hours that the bookstore is open to better accommodate students’ schedules.

Senior political science major Divya Varde commented, “I know there’s only like one standard notebook in there. There’s not many options for folders and stuff, and some teachers have preferences for what they need for classes.”

Additionally, some students believe that installing vending machines selling items such as pencils, erasers and headphones at similar prices to the food items that vending machines offer now might give students a more convenient, cheaper alternative to the bookstore’s merchandise.

“I think we have enough food vending machines and some of them definitely could be switched out for school supplies,” sophomore computer science major and Spanish minor Eli Claggett said. “They would get more use if they were school supplies because you can get snacks at Outtakes, the Commons, from D-hall, all over the place.”

UMBC does its best to meet students’ hunger needs, but when it comes to having equally accessible supplies for students and staff, the university is lacking. With only the UMBC Bookstore and a few vending machines offering stationery, it is clear that the school needs a new approach to help students get access to the supplies they need.