An Anthill Gets a Little Bigger

David Conley | New University

Freshmen, don’t mistake the Hill’s entrance for your dorm room. The fully decked out dorm room displays may become the new hub for undergrads, giving them a chance to live in dorm-dreamland. “The Hill just has a different vibe to it, its pretty cool,” third year student Alex Guardado said.

The UCI Bookstore used to be an automatic stop for course books, school supplies and UCI threads, but now, the Hill offers dorm room necessities and other not-so-necessary items.

“We get questions like ‘What is the Hill?’ and ‘Why the Hill?,’” the Hill staff member Luis Renteria said. The Hill is no longer a home to books of all ages, but rather a retail hub for the modern anteater. “The changes are good, more space has been provided for more apparel. We are also trying to bring in more skateboards, and more things from UC Items as well,” Renteria said.

“Students love how there are clothes everywhere. Students love how it’s more organized and there is more space,” the Hill staff member Rachelle Aguilera said.

“From my personal experience, I see more apparel being bought, which I think is due to the new presentation,” Renteria said.

The early boost in clothing sales on the eve of rush week proves promising for the Hill’s staff and the rest of the student body. “When students buy their books or other products from The Hill, the money stays on campus and goes back to support students and student activities as well as assessments back to the campus for its general support,” Stacey Murren, director of  Student Center and Scheduling & Conference Services, and interim director of the UCI Bookstore said.

According to Vice Chancellor Dr. Thomas Parham, the $65,000 for aesthetic improvements and  rebranding consultation was not taken from student funds, but rather  from store operation reserves.

“We have a campus of over twenty thousand rather brilliant young people and I think if the powers that be were insisting on marketing to that population, a rather good contest could have been mounted to re-name the bookstore,” Michelle Latiolais, co-director of Programs in Writing, said.

Some faculty believe that the money spent to hire a consulting firm to rename, let alone reorganize the bookstore, should have been spent on student academics. “That money could have gone to support students.  In fact, it could have paid fees for four students for a year,” Latiolais said.

According to Murren, the Hill will participate in National Student Day on Thursday, October 4, in which an essay contest about social involvement will give writers the opportunity to win free course materials for a whole quarter.

“We are working to expand the author series program to bring in even more high profile external authors than have participated in our series previously,” Murren said.

Clothing sales are up, but will the dorm room displays gather dust in the Hill, rather than be snatched up by apartment dwellers?

“I wouldn’t buy any dorm stuff here anyway, but maybe that works for freshmen; but for me that doesn’t change anything at all,” third year graduate student Christian Herrera said.

Students are no longer asking about book recommendations, but rather, where the heck everything is.

“I liked the way it was before because books were right in the front. I went to the general book section today and it is all the way in the back in the corner,” Herrera said.

“It is really no longer a bookstore. To have allowed the bookstore to be destroyed is to have foreclosed on one significant facet of the educational mission at UC Irvine,” Latiolais said.

Don’t forget to say goodbye to the dwindling supply of general books, banished to the clearance corner, on your way to course books below. Course book sales, on the other hand, have the best chance of surviving with an impressive “match your price” guarantee.

“It’s a really good deal that they would match any price that you would give them,” Herrera said.

“If you find a book is cheaper on Amazon, you bring the proof to us and we will match that price for you,” Renteria said.

The new course book policy also offers the ability to rent selected books for a quarter or more. Even freshmen looking for the dreaded I-Clickers will be able to rent the once costly quiz clickers.

Students of all years and majors will be pleased to find the course-bookstore working to their benefit.

For the Hill staff members, the change is good, as most of them have more opinions about merchandise than recommendations on general books.