Grassburr distribution numbers decline, Student Publications aims to increase awareness

Arynn Tomson- Art Director

The Grassburr by the numbers. Infographic by Arynn Tomson.

The Grassburr has been the official yearbook of Tarleton State University since 1916. Every student is encouraged to pick up their Grassburr each year. Recently, the number of students picking up their copy has declined. The Office of Student Publications hopes to increase these numbers so that more students will take advantage of owning their own piece of Tarleton history. 

On average, a total of $75,000 is spent each year producing the Grassburr. Last year, 3,168 copies were printed and only 1,185—less than half—were picked up. Depending on how many copies are left over, Student Publications recycles some yearbooks and also keeps some in stock for future pickups.  

Grassburr Editor-in-Chief Omar Herrera says he thinks everyone should have a Grassburr, so they can look back on their younger years here at Tarleton.  

“As a person who always captured people’s memories in high school and college, I know the amount of joy that people get is indescribable. It is not easy to document every little thing that happens during your college experience and the Grassburr does that,” Herrera said. 

Emily Muhney, senior business major, has only picked up hercopy once in her four years here at Tarleton. 

“The reason I waited this long is because this is my senior year of college and I felt like I didn’t need a yearbook every year since the photos are from our freshman orientation unless we went to the Texan Card office to change our photo,” Muhney said. 

Senior social work major Carly Tremewan says she picks her copy up every year.  

“I get mine to see how much I grow, and also like, why not? They’re in our tuition and fees. Even though our pictures are from our Texan Card, I enjoy looking through it,” Tremewan said. 

Business administration graduate student Rachel Stanton thinks it is important for students to collect their yearbook. 

“I feel that it’s important because it’s memories of the past year. And it captures all of the traditions and events that have happened over the past year. It’s a great way to showcase and remember those things. And it’s another great tradition to continue for the students to come,” Stanton said. 

Every student classified as a sophomore, junior or senior pays for the Grassburr in their student bill, as a part of the university service fees. Undergraduate students pay an average of $91 per credit hour and graduate students pay around $117 per credit hour toward their university service fees. An undergraduate student taking 18 hours would pay a little over $1,600 in university service fees.  

Stanton shares her opinion about students on satellite campuses and graduate students being charged in university fees for the Grassburr.  

“I always think about the satellite campuses and are those students getting the opportunity to pick up a Grassburr? And are they being charged for it? Same for graduate students as well. I believe there needs to be a forum held to discuss it all but that’s hard to be fully for one side for me,” Stanton said. “I’ve been an undergraduate student at TSU, [I was] very involved and stand by everything that supports the school and traditions. Now as a graduate student at the satellite campus not being involved at all, I see how the students feel it’s more of just go to class and there are a few perks to it and…that you don’t have the same perks and benefits as the students at the main campus.”  

Both students and Student Publications say one of the reasons distribution numbers are so low is because many students are still unaware they have a yearbook waiting to be picked up.  

“Most people only learn about the Grassburr tradition during Duck Camp or orientation and then have a year to forget about it before they can get their yearbook,” Herrera said. “The Grassburr needs to be more advertised in order to get more students to pick up their yearbooks.”  

“Not all students can go to the Grassburr Fest, so I think advertising that they are available to pick up would help,” Tremewan said. 

“Possibly broadcast it better. I know a lot of students don’t even know what the Grassburr is. Have the office reach out to housing and have the RLs send out a message to their residents about it. Have more posters around school. Just altogether generate a buzz about it,” Muhney said. 

Muhney says another reason students do not pick up the Grassburr is that it’s not worth finding a day and time to pick it up.  

“A lot of people, myself included, have been able to find a number of issues and typos in the Grassburr and it becomes off-putting after a while,” Muhney said. 

Stanton, on the other hand, said that students should get the Grassburr.  

“I liked how this year the Poo were involved with handing out the Grassburrs and signing books. I know a lot of people who were able to have that experience and I definitely think they should reach out more to the satellite campuses so they can have the wonderful Tarleton experience as well,” Stanton said.  

Herrera says the Grassburr staff has been collaborating with the JTAC to create distribution events and is also working on increasing their social media presence to keep students informed about the dates of when each publication comes out in order to increase distribution numbers. 

“As more people become excited for them to come out and are happy with the ones we have now, more students will want them,” Herrera said. “I have made some changes in our book this year that I hope everyone will enjoy and I cannot wait to see how happy this will make people. I am hopeful in the future that people will enjoy the Grassburrs more and more.” 

Students can pick up their Grassburr at the Thompson Student Center room 201 Monday through Friday during normal business hours.  

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