By Peter McCoy, submitted by Anonymous on Sun, 31/12/2006 - 23:30
Earlier this month, a student-run non-profit infoshop celebrated its grand opening at The Evergreen State College (TESC) in Olympia, Washington, USA. Using the guise of a state funded student group, volunteers of The Evergreen Infoshoppe were allotted over $4,000 to purchase radical books, zines, and videos for their lending library and resource center. After only a few weeks of planning, the Infoshoppe now hosts an ever-growing collection in a permanent, centrally located and nearly autonomous location. The opening party was just one event in a string of successes for the Infoshoppe. The 40 attendees at the opening were able to browse and checkout zines and books from the shoppe’s collection while listening to music and partaking in a zine making workshop. The new location for the Infoshoppe—provided thanks to recent renovations in the campus’ library building—was readily granted to the group’s coordinators when they simply asked the library’s head of circulation if any rooms were available. Now positioned centrally on the 2nd floor of the library, the volunteers of the Infoshoppe are free to decorate and furnish the room as they desire, designing the only space at Evergreen where students can truly relax and hang out. Building off this fact, the coordinators quickly followed up by requesting over $4,000 from the school’s Student Activities Budgetary Committee (which maintains over $100,000 per year for the numerous student groups at TESC). By proving the importance and uniqueness of such a resource, the group’s hopes were again exceeded when they were granted full funding and thousands of dollars to spend on media and literature currently unavailable to students for free (i.e. through the school or city library systems). Focusing more on radical and alternative presses, the shoppe’s coordinators commenced to scour the internet in search of diverse books and videos while posting a suggestion board where students can request the zines they want for the shoppe’s collection. The Evergreen Infoshoppe has also received generous donations from such distros as Microcosm Publishing and Eberhardt Press. For now, the infoshop at The Evergreen State College is closed for the school’s winter break. Yet, when school reopens January 8, the Infoshoppe plans to come back strong. Plans for the coming quarters include maintaining free zine making supplies and photocopies, stencil and wheat pasting materials, wall space for student art and a community calendar, as well as hosting guest speakers and artists. All this will be paid for with Washington state money, which, of course, came from the students in the first place. The success of The Evergreen Infoshoppe sets a strong example for “radical” students wishing to enlighten and inform their peers. Likely, something similar can be formed at any college or university that funds student groups. At TESC, the only requirement for forming the Infoshoppe was acquiring 3 signatures, two of which came from the group’s coordinators. Ask at your institution’s Student Activities office for details. Still settling in and creating a presence on campus, The Evergreen Infoshoppe is glad to accept any and all donations, misprints, overstock, damaged goods, posters, etc. to add to its budding collection. The shoppe can be contacted directly at The Evergreen Infoshoppe CAB 320 Olympia, WA 98505 USA or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.