The Student Activities Office (SAO) has ceased production of the Lagniappe, Carleton’s in-house calendar and planner, due to declining interest and budgetary considerations. For the past 27 years, SAO (formerly Campus Activities) distributed the Lagniappe for free to students, staff, and faculty at the beginning of each new school year.
The term “lagniappe” (pronounced lan-yap) has Louisiana and Creole origins and refers to a small gift given to a customer. Current SAO staff are unsure why Carleton adopted the name.
“Collectively as an office, it was an unfortunate yet logical decision to discontinue publication of the Lagniappe since the cost continued to rise and overall student interest steadily declined,” said Miiko Taylor, Assistant Director of Student Activities and New Student Orientation.
Since 2009, SAO has had fewer students picking up a Lagniappe each year, and declining interest from campus offices to submit events to be printed in the calendar. According to Taylor, SAO printed 3,000 copies of the Lagniappe at points of peak demand. Last year, they printed only 1,300 copies.
As a result, the cost per copy increased due to loss of quantity discounts and the fixed cost of compiling the Lagniappe.
The printing price per Lagniappe fluctuated between $5 and $6 over the past decade. This did not include the additional cost of paying SAO staff and student workers to compile the Lagniappe. The funding for printing came primarily from the CSA Activities Fee, and the funds will now be reallocated to other budget items.
“The decision to stop this long-standing publication is not one we took lightheartedly, but as stewards of student-derived fee dollars, we believe this is a wise decision moving forward,” added Taylor.
Taylor believes that technology and social media have played a big role in the declining interest in the Lagniappe over the past decade. “For many years, it served as a main form of campus communication, prior to the invention of the internet, email, cell phones, and online calendars,” said Taylor.
Some students are disappointed that there are no Lagniappes this year. Alec Jacobson ’21 used his Lagniappe to write down his assignments and also found it convenient that Carleton events were listed in the Lagniappe. Instead of buying a planner on his own this year, Jacobson has abandoned paper planners all together, “Last year I kind of did a hybrid, whereas this year I’ve gone full Google Calendar,” Jacobson said.
Students have been stopping by SAO to pick up a Lagniappe, and according to Taylor, “most students we’ve spoken with are flexible and understanding.”
Outdoor Activities Liaison and member of the Student Activities Programming Board Samara Kroeger ’21 agreed. “A lot of returning students asked within the first week of school, but not really since then,” she explained.