Pomona College’s yearbook, Metate, will not be published this year for the first time since the 1890s. A decline in student interest prompted the Associated Students of Pomona College (ASPC) to cut funding for the yearbook.
“Usually the yearbook is partially funded by ASPC student fees and partially funded by the revenue generated by selling the yearbooks,” said Faye Wang PO ’13, ASPC Vice President of Finance.
Recently, ASPC has allocated $16,000 per year to the yearbook, Wang said. Even with this subsidy, yearbook sales have not generated enough revenue to cover the costs of publication.
“In 2010, we had a net loss of a little less than $4,000, the next year a little more than $5,000,” ASPC President Sarah Appelbaum PO ’13 said. “Last year, it was a total loss, accumulated throughout the years, of $30,000.”
Appelbaum attributed the deficit to a lack of sales. She said that out of 250 books printed each year, about 190 are sold.
Wang said that this decrease in the popularity of yearbooks is occurring throughout the United States.
“According to national trends, a lot of yearbooks started dropping off when Facebook became popular,” Wang said. “This is not just a trend on Pomona’s campus. This is a national trend. A lot of college campuses don’t have yearbooks, and the ones that do aren’t doing so well.”
The Metate staff tried various techniques to increase sales, including dropping the price of the book from $50 to $40 last school year. However, sales remained low.
“Even when they advertised heavily last year and dropped the price of the yearbook, they didn’t make that many more sales,” Wang said.
Tyler Womack PO ’15 said she is disappointed that the yearbook will not be published.
“It’s sad in the sense that it helped create memories, but there wasn’t enough awareness about it,” she said.
First published in 1894 under the title Speculum, but changed a year later to its current name, Metate has been a Pomona tradition for 117 years.
ASPC is planning to use the annual $16,000 allocation to pay back the deficit over the next two years and, afterward, increase funding for student clubs and organizations.
“Our mission statement is to support students and what students are interested in,” Wang said. “Right now, yearbooks do not seem to be what students are interested in.”
ASPC is now looking to cheaper methods of recording history, such as the timeline on Pomona’s website and other digital media.
“We would love to hear ideas from students about a yearbook alternative that could be some cheaper way to show different events that happen throughout the year, different clubs that are active, the things that people want to remember,” Appelbaum said.