Equality, a concept of utmost importance, is what sits at the heart of ENC’s new book distribution program, Tree of Life. Tree of Life is a book rental service currently only serving new students. These students had their books automatically delivered to them based on their Fall 2018 schedules. Residential students received them right in their dorm rooms, delivered by their new peers. While there have been plenty of hiccups during these first few weeks due to unavoidable schedule changes, the goals of the service have remained noble.

Taking away the financial implications of buying books for the semester is a huge benefit for many students finding themselves strapped for cash. Tree of Life rolls the cost of textbooks in with the rest of your college expenses making them more easily paid for by financial aid. “Financial aid has always been applicable to textbooks,” says Keri Lewis, Associate Dean of Community Life, “we just want to make that process easier and more accessible.”

Purchasing textbooks has long been a divisive issue for the average college student. Many students seek to avoid those hefty price tags by either renting, borrowing, or not buying their textbooks each semester, with the latter being a point of distress for students and professors alike. Rental services like Tree of Life are offering a solution that minimizes the cost to the students while ensuring that they have what they need to be academically successful. Dr. Catherine Mueller-Bell echoes the sentiments of equality stating, “we want students to be cracking open those books, to have access by default and to make sure nobody gets left out.”

With every new venture comes new challenges. Some students who wish to remain anonymous express concerns with rising tuition costs from books that ultimately won’t be used much in their classes. Others are open to the prospect of not having to worry about finding cheap copies of their books online. Lewis explains the administration is going to do their best in future semesters to iron out any wrinkles and improve communication. They are also looking into the possibility of extending the service to existing students.