Made in China
Student planners printed overseas
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 00:09
Every year, Student Government (SG) provides planners to students on campus, paid for by Activity and Service fees.
This year all 20,500 planners ordered were printed more than 7,000 miles away — in China.
The planner was printed by Global Datebooks, a company based in Massachusetts. The company prints the majority of their products in China or Mexico.
Global Datebooks contracts with about 200 U.S. universities for printing planners and other similar materials.
“Usually we give the pricing for printing in China because it’s less expensive,” Lauren Upham, a sales representative for Global Datebooks, said. “The local vendors we use are local to us in Massachusetts.”
But the topic of where the planner is printed in regards to supporting local business, though, had never been discussed, Jessica Morgan, assistant director for Student Government advising, training and operations and advisor to the committee of students who create the planner, said.
“My understanding is that we have it printed locally and it is shipped to us,” she said. “SG is passionate about supporting the local community here in Tampa. We really want to support the local community.”
Student body President, Brian Goff, was also unaware of where the planners were printed.
“I was under the impression that it was a local company,” he said.
The first page of the planner says otherwise: “Information in this book was supplied and approved by the school. ... Printed in China.”
Morgan said SG spent $37,925 on the planners, including ordering and shipping. Three companies bid for the contract, she said, and Global Datebooks was chosen based on base price, color, size and other aesthetics.
This year, the planner features some upgrades, such as a sticker sheet in the back, which allows students to customize their own planner.
“We make selections based off of how quickly we can turn (the planners) around,” Morgan said. “We look at companies that could handle our volume.”
Though none of the three vendors considered printing locally in the Tampa Bay area, School Specialty one of the companies originally considered, based out of Wisconsin, does all of its printing in Freemont, Neb. University Directory. the third company, could not be reached for comment.
Some students supported the idea of outsourcing the printing to China.
“Usually I’m against things being outsourced to China, but I understand if it’s more cost effective,” said Beatrice Pierre-Charles, a freshman majoring in biology.
But for some students, the idea of outsourcing the jobs amidst a shabby economy did not sit well.
“It is nice to see a cheaper price, since it is my fees going to it,” said Ken Wasson, a senior majoring in informational systems management. “But I’d like to see business supported locally.”
Morgan said she is unsure of whether the location where the planner is printed is important to students.
The planners, which are available at the information desk in the Marshall Student Center, were not readily available at the beginning of this school year. Due to a crashed server when submitting the order and the campus being closed because of Tropical Storm Isaac, the planners arrived late, Morgan said.