Student nonprofit hosts benefit concert

UVM’s Books4Equality will be hosting a free benefit concert on the Redstone Green May 4.

Books4Equality is a recognized nonprofit organization aimed at providing free textbooks to college students.

Live music, good food and a good cause is how director of business affairs for the organization, senior Spencer Reynolds, described the upcoming concert.

“It’s a really simple concept,” Reynolds said. “At the beginning of the semester, we table and hand out textbooks, take down your email and at the end of the semester, we email you like, ‘Hey, give us our books back, pretty please,’ and we take back any other books you found that you don’t need.”

The goal of the organization is to drastically deplete the costs of textbooks, not only at UVM, but eventually to institutions around the country, he said.

“It’s really about cutting the exorbitant textbook fees,” Reynolds said, “because the American student, on average, will spend about $800 to $1,200 a year on books.”

Students like sophomore Kahlia Livingston have experienced first-hand the high costs of textbooks.

“It’s been a problem for me before,” Livingston said. “I had to drop a class once because I couldn’t get a book that was just priced way too high.”

“I just never want to pay full price for a book that I could only use once, or not at all,” sophomore Hannah Gluck said. “And trying to find a good used version can take so long or not work out.”

Books4Equality currently operates only at UVM, but is making its way to other schools in the Burlington area, such as St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont.

Reynold’s said another student at St. Michael’s contacted the organization about the expansion planned to happen in the fall.

“That’s the dream 10 years down the line,” Reynolds said, “to have Books4Equality and a ton of [additional] chapters at schools all over the country.”  

The upcoming Bands4Equality benefit concert will take place on the Redstone Green May 4 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and will be free to attend.

Reynolds described the event as a “block party,” showcasing local and UVM talent, such as The Cat’s Meow, Dr. Rick, DAUT, Melon, Chosin, Don Geronimo and the Catamount Dance Crew.

Clubs and organizations from UVM will participate as well, including Gift of Life, an organization dedicated to helping children and adults find needed bone marrow transplants.

“The whole idea is just to get our name out there as much as possible to as many different student groups as possible, as well as promoting local clubs, local music talent, local food, that kind of thing,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds is also working on getting food vendors for the event. He mentioned Junior’s Downtown, the Doughnut Dilemma and Feel Good as possible vendors.

“The food is probably what I’m most excited about,” Gluck said. “But seriously, it does sound like a really great event.”

This concert is a step toward the goal of expansion for Books4Equality.  Reynolds, as well as the founding members Javier Garcia ‘14, Alex Perkins ‘15 and graduate student Benjamin Kaufman hope the event will spread the organization’s message.

Books4Equality also has an SGA-recognized club, which Reynolds said is always looking for new members.
Clear your calendars for May 4 and come out to the Redstone Green to celebrate the last day of classes, a great cause and, of course, local musical talent. In the meantime, you can follow Books4Equality on Facebook and Instagram (@B4EUVM) and check out their website,