By Shawn Proctor
Falvey Library staff collaborated with partners across campus to boost sustainability efforts while benefiting students in the Center for Access, Success and Achievement (CASA) as well as College of Professional Studies (CPS).
On May 30, Albert Motel, Waste and Recycling Manager, Facilities Management, coordinated a delivery of 461 pounds of books donated by current students during the spring move out. The books, which included theology and philosophy textbooks, novels, plays, poetry collections, and memoirs from every college at the University, were sorted in the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Idea Lab (IIE) by Samuel Jay, Assistant Director of Retention, CASA, Kirstin DeFusco Houtz, MS, Director, Academic Advising and Student Support, CPS, and Olivia D’Aiutolo Mendenall, MEd, Academic Advisor, CPS.
“The donation was an absolute success! Working alongside Shawn, Kirstin, and Olivia was a great experience, and it was all for the students’ benefit,” Jay says. “It gives our students the opportunity to borrow textbooks free of charge, in comparison to purchasing them from the bookstore where textbooks can be well over $100. A lot of students do not come from wealthy backgrounds, so this initiative provides our students the chance to borrow textbooks, while getting to save some money.”
Caring for Students and the Environment
The hundreds of texts selected by CASA were catalogued by Falvey staff in Resource Management and Description (RMD) and added to the CASA lending library, where they will be available to the center’s students, who are underrepresented, first-generation, or Pell Grant Eligible.
Kirstin DeFusco Houtz and Olivia D’Aiutolo Mendenall review books donated by Villanova students.
A wide variety of books were delivered to the CPS as well, which doubled the size of its recently created lending library. These books will help reduce the cost of attendance for CPS students, who are high achieving adults balancing their educational and professional aspirations with life commitments.
The remaining materials were collected by RMD and packaged to be shipped to a company that specializes in reselling textbooks.
“Our students in CPS have numerous financial obligations they must consider when deciding to pursue an academic credential. Often, this is money being moved from another area in their family budget – children’s education, retirement, groceries, etc. Providing affordable materials for our nontraditional students is crucial for promoting accessibility, inclusivity, and overall student success,” DeFusco Houtz says.
This multi-department initiative supports Villanova University’s commitment to sustainability and good stewardship of our planet by removing these books from the waste stream. It also lives out the University values of truth, unity, and love and the important missions of promoting diversity and equity in the campus community.
“The financial burden of expensive textbooks or materials can be discouraging and lead to attrition,” D’Aiutolo Mendenall adds. “Providing course materials will help to create a more equitable educational landscape at Villanova, empowering individuals to achieve their goals and will have many intergenerational benefits.”
Special thanks to the many other staff who contributed to this initiative: Falvey Library’s John Banionis, Director of Resource Management and Description, and David Burke, Metadata Librarian, who processed the donated materials; CASA’s Renee Boyd-Shaw, Administrative and Lending Library Coordinator, and Kevin Covington, Assistant Director, Retention and Outreach, for support and administration; and IIE’s Stephen Green, Assistant Director, and Ann Miller, Daniel J. Hogarty, Jr. ’61 Director, for graciously providing the space.
Shawn Proctor, MFA, is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Library.