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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 EPI 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 to better understand the impact on Vassar students.

One finding was student reliance on the Libraries to gain access to textbook readings.  As a result of the survey, MAT encouraged the Libraries to continue the Textbook program.

  • 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.

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 2022 semester include:

Michelle Quock, Director of the Transitions Program.

Emma Ritter, Senior Assistant Director of Student Financial Services.

Pambanisha Whaley, Head of User Services, Vassar Libraries.

Elizabeth Salmon, Social Science Librarian, Vassar Libraries.

Sarah Canino. Music Librarian, Vassar Libraries, Co-Chair.

Yasmin Nijem, ‘23

Jose Rodriguez, ‘24

Reshan Selva, ‘23

Noon Elmostafa, ‘25

Charles From, ‘25

Izzy Rico, ‘23 Intern for the Office of Sustainability and in VSA

Lioba Gerhardi, Director of the Self-Instructional Language Program (SILP), Advisor to the Class of 2024.

Catherine Tan, Assistant Professor of Sociology, currently on leave.

Mary Ellen Czesak, Lecturer and Lab Coordinator in Biology, Advisor to the Class of 2025.

Sarah Pearlman, Professor of Economics and Chair of Economics. Acting Co-Chair. 

Christopher Raymond, Associate Professor of Philosophy. Co-chair. Currently on leave. 

Tianyu Xiong, EPI representative.