International students plan book swap

Samantha Weber, Staff writer

The International Student Association (ISA) here at Mercyhurst is partnering with Service-Learning & Community Engagement to hold a book swap for students on campus.

This idea was originally started two years ago as an informal book swap among international students, in hopes of making their transition to school a little easier.

Senior Marina Boyle, an international student from Ireland and ISA president, describes how the book swap was run in previous years. “Two years ago the Internation-al Student Association started a book swap between members as a fundraiser for the club and a way to help international students get their books more cheaply. We gathered books from members and met in the Great Room to swap them at the beginning of the semester. This worked well for about four semesters, but now we have essentially run out of books and we want to get this initiative started again in a bigger and more formalized way so that it can benefit as many students as possible,” Boyle said.

With COVID, the traditional way of swapping books looks different, but it is an important program that will remain in place to help others. “This year, I knew I wanted to do this event again in a COVID friendly way, and make sure that international (and domestic) students were given a service opportunity. It has been harder to serve during the pandemic, but safely sharing a book by giving it to another person helps a fellow Laker and reduces the environmental impact of buying multiple books,” Boyle said. Students can sign up to donate their books now, and physically donate them after the break. “What inspired the idea was simply making sure that with all the added stresses that international students have, getting textbooks would not be a cause for concern. Donating a book to someone else is also an act of service that helps to build community,” Boyle said.

This idea of service is present in all aspects of Mercyhurst University and it is something that students can take great pride in. Getting a book in exchange for another book that you donate is free, or you can get a book with-out donating in exchange for a monetary donation of $1 or more to the Emergency Book Fund. The ISA is hoping to get as many students as possible involved, whether they are from overseas or not.

Anyone who has a book to swap or a desire to help a fellow Laker is welcome. Because donating a book is an act of service, Service Learning & Community Engagement were the perfect office to partner with for the ISA. They are also helping with COVID safety in terms of the event.

Books will be left to quarantine before being passed to another student, and there will be no face-to-face interaction need-ed to donate or collect a book. Through a form on their HUB page, students will be able to list what books they have to donate, and those who donate will have early access to the list of books available.

This program is a part of the Mercy Marketplace, an idea that will ideally extend beyond ex-changing books into exchanging other things such as dining swipes or professional clothing to students in need.

Anyone willing to help should visit the HUB and begin posting their books!