Tag Archives: SLE

Where Does Your Student Activity Fee Go?

If it’s coming from your wallet, you should know where it’s going! Find out who gets your $97.

    Every USF undergraduate student pays a $97 activity fee as part of their tuition. Although minuscule in comparison to the $50,000 plus a year students pay for tuition, the student activity fee benefits many organizations on campus that directly affect the student body.

The Finance Committee of ASUSF Senate holds a budget workshop every February in which they evaluate funding for each campus

2013-2014 year SLE Funded Account budgets.

2013-2014 year SLE Funded Account budgets.

organization and walk through the entire budgeting process with two executives from each organization, according to Maddy Meininger, VP of Business Administration for ASUSF Senate.

Then, in March, the Finance Committee gives each organization a proposed budget. Later in the month, Senate holds a hearing in which all funded accounts are given 30 minutes to present if they want to dispute the proposed budget. Then Senate sits down and talks through all the budget proposals and any appeals to decide what is reasonable and feasible.

If the total subsidies don’t match up exactly with the student activity fee, the excess money goes into the reserves account, which currently contains $593,371 according to Marci Nunez, Director for Student Involvement at Student Leadership and Engagement (SLE). The reserves account is “a mini buffer that is still technically in the operating budget,” says Meininger. When not all the money is spent, the remainder goes back into reserves and sits there in case of emergency, she said.

If an organization submits a line change — meaning they want to change the allocation of their money and/or want more funding — the organization submits a request form. In this case, said Meininger, “the reserves is accessed if senate deems it necessary.” Each organization can apply for funding in the following categories: events, travel, and internal development.

According to Taylor Jackson, senior religious studies major and member of Finance Committee, the reserves account is similar to an adult’s savings account, in that it is always safer to have extra money set aside. “It is extremely rare to break even,” she said. “Prices fluctuate and last minute things come up.”

The only other way the reserves can be accessed is if anyone affiliated with the University makes a request for something that Senate thinks will affect the entire student body. If the request exceeds $10,000, such as the cost of the public safety van which was taken from the reserves account, the person/organization must get signatures from over ten percent of the student body. If these signatures are obtained, funds are granted.

In the event that Senate denies funding/a portion of funding to a given organization, it is not necessarily because the money is not available in the reserves, according to Jackson. When deciding whether or not to add funding, they seek to determine if it will indeed “benefit the organization and if it is a good use for the money,” said Jackson. They aim to cater to the student body as a whole, not just a small portion, she explained.

What is CASA? A Guide to USF’s Center for Academic and Student Acheivement

College can be a scary and stressful change for students. Moving away from home, making new friends, and adjusting to the rigorous academics all at once can be overwhelming. However, USF has acknowledged that students need personal support, equally as much as academic support, and has created CASA to provide a home away from home.

CASA, the Center for Academic and Student Achievement, consists of a team of 12 university advisers. In addition, CASA has an administrative team helping run the program. CASA provides support programs such as New Student Orientation, The Back-on-Track Program for students on academic probation, and the Student Success Workshops. CASA’s vision started back in 2011 when Provost Jennifer Turpin wanted to centralize all the support services for students.

So what differentiates CASA from your academic advisors?

Laleh Shahideh, associate vice provost and dean of Student Academic Services, said that the center’s goals is to provide a holistic approach to student support. Faculty advisors are assigned to students specifically by major, whereas university advisors are specialized to provide not only academic, mental and personal support beyond helping students select classes.

“The difference is that when a student goes to see their faculty academic advisor, they are extremely knowledgeable in the discipline such as academics or careers in the student’s major,” she said. “But when you come and see a CASA staff member, for example, if a student wants to drop a class, we try to get to the bottom of the issue and see what the students really need.”

 

Shahideh said that CASA has two objectives and that is to improve retention and increase four-year graduation rates. According to Shahideh, since CASA started in fall of 2012, retention rates have already increased to 90 percent.

“[Students] may have financial issues, or family issues, or a learning disability that they do not know about. Those are the things then that we try to address or if we can’t then we connect them with proper referrals on campus such as the counseling center or student disability services,” Shahideh said.

Anna Cross, one of the university advisers and director of Communication and Student Outreach, said she was intrigued by the concept and the merging of multiple resources and services across campus into one space.

Cross used to work in admissions but said one of her favorite aspects of her job is interacting with students and getting know them. “Now I have the chance to see them start off at square one as a freshman, and work with them as they develop into passionate, brilliant, and mature young men and women during their four years here,” she said.

Students at USF also find CASA to be beneficial to them. “Working with CASA was really easy. I just walked in and they processed my paper work, and they said it would be finished by the end of today,” said freshman Andy Woodhull. The undeclared student took the wrong rhetoric class last semester and visited CASA for more information on taking an advanced course. “ I thought it was going to take 10-15 minutes, but it really took only about two seconds.”

To learn more about CASA visit the center on the UC 3rd Floor or visit www.usfca.edu/casa

Fox Sponsors A.I. Viewing Party

Last Wednesday, students gathered in the UC fourth floor lounge for an American Idol Viewing Party, centered on the reality show’s auditioning episode in San Francisco. Fox TV sponsored the event, along with viewing parties at other San Francisco universities.

ASUSF Voices hosted the event. Their a cappella group Six sang during the commercial breaks.

SLE held a raffle and a brief trivia contest. Fox sponsored the gift bags for the raffle.

Philip Daniel Santos, a junior nursing major and the publicity director for Voices, ran the trivia contest. An Idol fan, Santos has seen every season of the show.

Santos auditioned for the show a few years ago in Los Angeles, when American Idol’s popularity inspired American Idol Jr. “I’d like to audition again, but when I see the tens of thousands of people auditioning on TV, and they can only take fifty or so from each city they visit, it’s kind of discouraging,” he said.

SLE also provided free pizza, snacks and drinks. About a dozen students trickled into the lounge prior the event. When the complimentary pizza arrived, the number of students doubled.

During the episode, students giggled when the judges were unimpressed with an audition.

Jennifer Lopez and Steve Tyler have replaced veteran judges Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul. Randy Jackson is the only original judge that still partakes in the show.

Nine thousand Bay Area locals and out-of-towners showed up at the Giants’ home stadium in AT&T park for the San Francisco auditions. The episode was shot in November.

Sophia Baptista, a senior psychology major, found the entire event “very entertaining. . . It’s cool to see (the reality show being filmed) in San Francisco.”

Among the most talented featured singers were a young father who had overcome Tourette’s with music and a quirky girl with a cartoonish yet soothing voice, who could also play guitar. “She was my favorite, the girl with the voice,” said Baptista.

Strange moments still appeared in the show, from a Ukrainian immigrant who posts Youtube videos of herself singing ballads while soaking in the shower, to a man who came to the auditions decked out in an elaborate racecar costume.

Fox took advantage of shooting on location, with iconic shots of the Golden Gate Bridge at all times of day, the city skyline, and, at the end, some triumphant auditioners waving their golden tickets to Hollywood while hanging off cable cars.

Katie Pena, a graduate intern for SLE,  was pleased with the student turnout at the American Idol Event.

“The idea of these events are to provide students with opportunities to engage with other students at USF,” said Pena.  “I was excited to see many students come out and participate in a collaboration between USF and Fox.”

Pena also said she was “happy to see students enjoying themselves and taking the time off to watch the show in our lounge on campus, as if there were home on their couch.  We consider USF our home and want our students to feel the same way.”

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Natalie Cappetta

News Editor: Ericka Montes

No Show for Vagina Monologues: Suspension freezes all College Players productions until March

For the last 10 years at USF, the month of February has been notable for the College Players rendition of the Vagina Monologues. This year, however, students can expect to miss out on the highly anticipated play.

College Players have been placed on suspension since Dec. 6, 2010. After eight months on probation, the student organization can no longer produce shows or host social events until March 31, 2011.

Student Leadership and Engagement (SLE) and the Performing Arts Department staff support College Players, but believe the number of productions places too much time commitment and liability for the university. Additionally, access to ASUSF funding is frozen. Their probationary period extends until May 1, 2011.

College Players is a completely student-run organization at USF with a five-member staff. The club’s 147 year-long history has given USF  culturally relevant shows like “The Vagina Monologues,” old standbys like screenings of “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” and most recently a professional level performance like “Wild Party.”

One week before winter finals, SLE Director Greg Wolcott informed the College Players staff, in a letter, that their activities were suspended until March 31, 2011 “in order to advance progress” on the list of operational and organizational requirements.

The suspension came as somewhat of a surprise to College Players staff, though not entirely because executive producer Daniel Sherman was given written warnings before the December letter was issued.

Prior to the suspension, College Players had already been on probation. Wolcott issued College Players a letter on Oct. 26, 2010 to outline the reasons for their probation. (see box after the jump).

In the letter, the issues ranged from missing paperwork and missing attendance to stress placed on the faculty and the university from supporting College Players.

Expected outcomes included cancelling the Gill series — a student written and produced shows like Play-in-a-Day, submitting all required paperwork to resolve past production, and planning future productions and staffing needs. The letter stated, “any infractions of the outlined conditions above will result in immediate suspension of your organization’s recognition status for the spring semester 2011.”

During the probationary period, Executive Producer Danny Sherman said he and the rest of the executive board were diligently producing the documents asked of them, such as procedures for hiring professionals, staff transitions, and more. They shared these documents via Googledocs with SLE, but they never received any comments about the work.

Yet in December, College Players were informed of their suspension because the requirements, stated in the October 26th letter, “have not satisfactorily been met.”

SLE wrote a third letter on Jan. 21, expressing their support of College Players as an organization with strengths in “providing student involvement and learning opportunities … and remaining student-led and building student leadership skills.”

However, the level of administrative energy required to oversee them is difficult to provide. Wolcott wrote, “economic constraints have forced us to ‘do more with less’ and we cannot provide the level of staff and faculty time, in particular, needed to sustain the current level of CP activities.”

College Players Executive Board were confused as to why they are overworking their administrators, when the October letter stated the advisor, Professor Christine Young, was not involved enough in business decisions.

Professor Young, the advisor of College Players, felt it was “premature to comment on CP’s structure and activities” during this transition.

Wild Party by Ilyse

Members of College Players perform an annual musical in Presentation Theater. Above, students sing and dance in “Wild Party,” Fall of 2010. (Ilyse Liffreing/Foghorn)

Over break, Student Life, SLE, and the staff and advisors that support the College Players met “to discuss the activities that can be supported and the resources that can continue to be provided for CP in the future” according to the letter issued by Director Greg Wolcott on January 21st.

Danny Sherman, Executive Producer of College Players, wrote, “I’m also confused why SLE would go to an academic department, in our case PASJ, to determine the conditions of an ASUSF organization, and why no representative from either College Players or Senate were asked to attend.” College Players was not invited to this meeting nor was any representative from Senate.

The university provides tools that outline how student organizations are able to exist and produce work. Wolcott wrote in an e-mail, “The Performing Arts Department, for example, provides the faculty advisor for CP, and the full-time salary of the Director of Presentation Theater, who supports numerous student clubs and organizations. The Department also provides (free of charge) extensive use of Presentation Theater for the College Players during rehearsals, load-in, tech, and performances.”

Through all of the points of dispute spanning numerous letters, the members of College Players were confused at what was being asked of them.

Danny Sherman wrote, “We were asked to rethink our board positions and come up with a new position breakdown, including all responsibilities, and attach budget percentages for each one. I asked for an example format and I was given Senate’s position breakdowns. My board met, we decided to redo some of the positions based on the feedback we got from our advisor, and then we created position breakdowns in the same format as Senate’s. When we submitted them, we were then told that it was not exactly what they were looking for…We keep getting the run-around about the specifics of what SLE is looking for, and then we’re told that the work we are doing is not what was asked of us. It’s a catch-22.”

According to Wolcott from an e-mail, “the issues that are being currently discussed with CP are about size and scope of performances, and the amount of work it takes to support CP from a student perspective, a staff perspective, and an advisor perspective. Student Life and SLE will continue to support CP in terms of advocacy and support, while working with CP’s leadership to adjust their activities and structure to a level that is appropriate for a student organization.”

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Natalie Cappetta

News Editor: Ericka Montes

Student Rewards Program Encourages Participation

Businesses create loyalty programs to retain customers, and USF is no exception to this rule. For the last three years, the university has used the Student Rewards Program to increase student turnout at events. It is an incentive-based program for students to attend events in exchange for points and prizes.

The Athletics Department originally created the program exclusively for sports games, however, the program has been recently undertaken by Student Leadership and Engagement (SLE) this year, broadening the types of events that students can earn prizes for.

Kyle Janzen, director of Ticketing and Promotions said, “We reached out to Student Leadership Engagement and proposed the idea of taking this from an athletic-based program, to a university-based program and everyone loved it and got on board.”

Since, the program has received additional funding to purchase student ID swiping machines and prizes. “If you’re going to open it up to more events, you’re going to need more prizes to support those events,” Janzen said.

The program works by creating a record of each time a student attends an event, such as sports games, concerts and shows. Student ID cards are swiped into a machine, which then allows for students to accumulate points. The more points students have, the more chances to earn better prizes.

Currently, SLE provides all of the support for non-athletic events, which includes staffing and execution for the program. At the beginning of the year, SLE, The Athletics Department and Kyle Janzen collectively mapped out the all events and the amount of points each event was worth.

Once students begin to attend events, weekly emails are sent to them, outlining the schedules of upcoming events, the point’s values for each event and where students can claim their prizes.

The point-value of events are weighted according to popularity. The more “popular” an event is (such as a sports game), the fewer points it is worth. Respectively the less popular, the more points it is worth.

Janzen said this set up of point value was designed specifically to encourage participation. “For example, this year women’s basketball games are worth 300 points, and men’s basketball games are worth only 100 points.” According to Janzen, more students attend men’s basketball games than they do for women’s. The Student Rewards Program aims to bring students to sporting events that are lacking attendance.

The Student Rewards Program has grown since it started. During the first year, the program had about 1500 students, and now the program serves over 2000 students.
In the second year, an information board was placed at every event next to the card swipes. The information board is an info center for students to see a breakdown of points, upcoming events, and a listing of top 20 point totals.

Janzen said, “The board helped increase communication to the students, and answer the prominent questions of who many points have been accumulated.”

Hillary Kigar, a junior business hospitality student, is an active participant of the Student Rewards Program and has used it since the program has been established. Kigar said, “I think that this is a great program to have on campus, and I have seen more students attending various events on campus over the years. I actually was not aware that there was a way to track my points, and have not seen an information board at any event.”

Weekly print outs of the membership database are made available for review at tables located at athletic events. The print out gives students an updated readout of their total points.
T

he prizes distributed include- tee-shirts, back sacks, seat cushions and water bottles. The program also offers raffle prizes, for anyone who gets over 5000 points. The prize in- cluded in the grand raffle include a semester worth of books, $500 to spend at Bon Appetit, an electric scooter, as well as many other prizes.

Janzen said, “We wanted for more students to come out, but we also wanted to increase student retention, and increase participation on campus, this is what has been the driving forces of the program.”

According to Janzen, the idea to include faculty, staff, and alumni rewards program is in consideration. However, there is no funding to execute such an advancement.

Janzen said the overall success of the program has been seen from one year to the next. Prizes have increased and the communications between students and administrators of the rewards programs has improved.

Lindsey Pappas, a senior hospitality major only found out about the event two weeks ago when she attended Midnight Madness. Pappas said, “I never saw any advertising for the rewards program, but when I went to Midnight Madness they were swiping everyone’s cards, I thought it was to verify I was a student, but I came to find out it was for the rewards program.”

Janzen said, “We want to make sure that there is belief in the pro- gram, we want to always stay cre- ative, and execute on our promises with prizes.”

For more info, visit www.face- book.com/studentrewardsprogram

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain

News Editor: Erick Montes