Money can’t buy me love-or a yearbook

The College’s yearbook is not projected to meet its production costs this year by thousands of dollars, and staff members have recently considered calling off the 2007 yearbook as one way of dealing with the shortfall.

Audrey Levine, the Seal’s editor-in-chief, called that “a horrid, horrid thought.” The staff is still working as if the yearbook were to be printed as planned, though another option is reducing the number of the pages, she said. The staff has been working on the yearbook since August, and 14 pages for the different schools at the College are already complete.

“We’re still producing pages, we’re still taking pictures,” she said. “We’re going full-speed ahead.”

The staff knew it was facing major financial difficulties this year and was counting, in part, on having a successful advertising campaign to increase yearbook and advertising sales to cover the difference.

However, the staff recently realized they did not have an advisor to approve mass e-mails or to sign for an outside vendor to send mailings to students’ parents.

Tony Marchetti, creative services coordinator for the Office of Public Affairs, had advised the staff since Spring 2002, but stepped down as advisor at the end of last school year. The staff knew this, but thought the office of Campus Activities also knew this and would appoint a new advisor. Neither the staff nor Marchetti told Campus Activities that the Seal did not have an advisor until after winter break.

Timothy Asher, associate director of Campus Activities and advisor to the Student Finance Board (SFB), said he found out in a meeting on Jan. 22.

“Student organizations are currently responsible for selecting their own advisor,” Asher said in an e-mail. “There is not any particular process for selecting an advisor. Students generally seek out a faculty or staff member who shares their organization’s interest and can help to develop the student members as leaders, assisting them in achieving organization goals.”

As of Feb. 2, Levine said the staff had not yet started looking for an advisor because she wanted to talk further with Asher.

Complicating matters further, the Seal is in the middle of a five-year contract with Jostens, its publisher. In January 2004, the Seal entered the contract to lock in production costs.

“At this point, we are not sure what we would owe Jostens if we pull out of our contract,” Levine said. “Our representative is in the process of checking on it.”

Jon Borst, current SFB executive director, said that signing the contract was against SFB policy, which prohibits organizations from entering into contracts without SFB approval.

SFB had given the Seal $30,000 for production costs for the 2003-2004 school year. By the end of the year, though, it was told by SFB that the yearbook would have to fund all production costs from its own revenue, according to Borst.

“SFB expects the Seal to pay for all expenses associated with the production of the yearbook,” Borst said in an e-mail. “That expectation has been expressed to the Seal for over three years now. If the Seal fails to meet costs, it is because of their inability to meet their projected book sales.”

SFB did give the Seal $4,363.50 for advertising this year, Borst added. “The SFB has and will continue to assist the Seal through paying for publicity campaigns such as postcard mailings, postage, and other miscellaneous postings,” he said.

Levine said she hopes more students order yearbooks.

“If people don’t buy it, we can’t afford it or justify producing it,” she said, noting that the book is designed to appeal to all classes.

Borst said the Seal continues to fall short of meeting projected sales numbers.

Levine said the yearbooks cost $60 each this year, with the cost increasing to $75 after April 1. The staff hopes to sell 750 copies this year. According to SFB, the staff projected sales of 700 books last year, but they only sold 500 at a cost of $70, and $85 later in the year.

The Seal has been published each year since 1911.