Castleton University’s Student Government Association has found a way to give back to students after a year of limited activity and COVID regulations — and they’re called Rocketbooks.
A Rocketbook is a type of tablet that essentially acts as a smart notebook, allowing the user to write notes, upload them, and then erase and reuse the virtual pages. SGA has decided to use the semester’s accumulated and unused student activity fees to provide every full-time undergraduate with a tablet.
“Most of us are at home and we cannot use the activities fee,” said SGA president, Patrick Lucey. “Students can use this for classes or your own personal interest, drawing, so it’s very versatile.”
Each semester, full-time undergrads pay roughly $150 for the “Student Association Fee,” which typically contributes to SGA on-campus activities and Castleton’s many clubs. This year, with most students studying at home, there have just been fewer activities to fund.
The standard Rocketbook runs for about $35 on the company’s website, however, SGA also plans to cover shipping these devices to students around the country. Each Rocketbook will also be customized with Castleton’s logo.
“SGA realizes it hasn’t been a typical year and they want students to understand that they get that, too,” said Castleton’s Director of Student Activities, Matthew Patry. “They want to make sure students aren’t saying ‘our activities fee was for naught this year, I didn’t get to participate in anything.’ This way at least everybody will receive this.”
Campus Activities Board Chair Adam Murray brought the idea up to the rest of SGA after the group shot down several different ideas like a YETI mug, a Castleton hoodie, and a blanket. It was eventually decided that Rocketbooks not only had the most longevity, but also represented student needs.
When asked how he thought students would react to the gift, Lucey predicted mixed feedback on the decision, however, he thinks most people will get on board.
“As SGA, we cannot [refund the money]. That is a decision from the school and it’s a long process and it’s over with — like, there’s nothing we can do about it,” Lucey said. “The best that we can do as SGA is offer a gift to relieve that pain a little bit.”
Though many students have voiced understanding for SGA’s inability to refund activities fees, concerns over the usefulness of the Rocketbook have also arisen. In fact, several are saying they’d rather receive one of the other ideas proposed.
“I think what would be better is something more commemorative — maybe like a YETI mug and a Castleton face mask — something like that would be way better than a Rocketbook,” said third year student Ben Thompson. “Or just give me the $35, to be honest. Because I’m never gonna use it.”