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MAT: Movement for Affordable Textbooks.

Collected textbook-related resources for faculty, students and administrators.

What is MAT?

MAT, or Movement for Affordable Textbooks, is made up of concerned faculty, students, and administrators who are working together to address the high cost of textbooks and other course materials for Vassar students. MAT came out of the Engaged Pluralism Initiative (EPI) Working Group and is now an Engaged Pluralism Working Group.

Among its recent accomplishments, MAT members have been gathering information and raising awareness on the Vassar campus.  Accomplishment to date include:

  • The creation of a MAT website to collect and disseminate information to students demystifying the financial awards and textbooks and highlighting options for Vassar students to access and obtain their textbooks:
  • While statistics regarding the impact of the high cost of textbooks is well documented in the media, MAT created and launched a student survey in Spring 2021 and again in Spring 2023 to better understand the impact on Vassar students.

One finding was a reliance by some students on the Libraries Reserve departments to gain access to textbook readings.  As a result of the survey, MAT encouraged the Libraries to continue the Textbook Lending Program in which faculty request that textbooks be purchased for the Library collection and placed on Library Reserve.

  • Awareness has been raised through:
  • Presentations and discussions in various venues with students and faculty:  Library Committee, Chair and Directors meeting, EPI summer student institution presentations by co-chairs Christopher Raymond and Sarah Canino, July 2021 and again in July 2022.
  • Talking About Teaching session was held in January 2022 to focus on this issue.
  • The MAT syllabi statement, endorsed by the Dean of the Faculty, sent out to Vassar faculty members to share with the students in their classes.

Currently co-chaired by Sarah Canino and Sarah Pearlman, MAT meets to plan initiatives. MAT is looking for new members! If you are interested in working with other members of the Vassar community to find solutions to the high cost of course materials at Vassar, contact one of the committee members below to express your interest:

Members for the Fall 2023 semester include:

Sarah Canino

Music Librarian, Vassar College Libraries; MAT Co-Chair,
Sarah Pearlman Professor and Chair, Department of Economics; MAT Co-Chair
Michelle Quock Director, Transitions Program
Nicholas Sanders Class of '27
Jose Iona Textbooks, VC BookStore
Emma Ritter Senior Assistant Director of Student Financial Services
Izzy Rico Office of Sustainability Coordinator for Data and Programs
Catherine Tan Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology
Tianyu Xiong EP student intern
Mary Ellen Czesak Advisor to the Class of 2025; Senior Lecturer and Laboratory Coordinator, Biology Department,
Elizabeth Salmon Social Science Librarian, Vassar College Libraries,
Bianca Keesler House Advisor for Cushing & Noyes Houses; Assistant Director of Community Expectations
Lioba Gerhardi Dean of First-Year Students and Advisor to the Class of 2027; Visiting Assistant Professor, German Studies Department
Christopher Raymond Associate Professor, Philosophy Department
Pambanisha Whaley Head Users Services, Vassar College Libraries,
Simon Hoellerbauer Post doc fellow