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Board being formed to assist activity planning for students

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The board will consist of ten student volunteers that fit a variety of demographics. They will work together with Patty Witkowski, director of Student Engagement and Leadership, by giving input and coordinating major events. Photo courtesy of lifeworkbalances.files.wordpress.com
Christine Wiabel

An advisory board of students is being formed to help plan student activities for the 2014-15 school year. 

The board will consist of ten student volunteers that fit a variety of demographics.  They will work together with Patty Witkowski, director of Student Engagement and Leadership, by giving input and coordinating major events.

“I’d like a real diversity of perspective,” Witkowsky said. “Not all students live on campus and not all students enjoy the same activities.”

Witkowsky hopes to fill the 10 positions with one first year undergraduate, one sophomore undergraduate, one junior undergraduate, one first-year transfer student, one second year transfer student, one graduate student, one international student, one on-campus resident student, one off-campus resident student and one non-traditional student over the age of 24.

Students who fit the criteria and want to serve on the advisory board will also need to have some previous campus involvement.  This may include club memberships, volunteering, playing a sport, serving in student government or working in a campus facility.

Other eligibility requirements include full-time status, a minimum grade point average of 2.5, being in disciplinary good standing and continuing as a student in the 2014-15 academic year.

The board was initially formed last year and those who served discovered firsthand the challenges that the student engagement and leadership team faces when planning events.

Money, attendance, facilities and timing are all factors that affect programming each year.

One challenge is staying within a budget.  The office is given a set major-events budget of approximately $100,000 for the year, as well as a supplemental amount to use from its operating budget.  These funds are used for everything from publicity to booking fees, and with rising costs, the funds don’t go very far.

Booking well-known entertainers can be very expensive and many are unwilling to accept invitations from smaller schools where attendance at the event may be questionable.  If a large portion of funding goes toward booking a top-billed performer, it can also limits the scope of other events. One solution to the dilemma is to collaborate with other schools in the area to book attractions.  Witkowsky refers to this as “block booking.”  When an entertainer or band can perform at several venues in the same general area, it saves money for all involved.

The advisory board will meet on Fridays during the spring semester from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. They will propose activities and then conduct outside research about the cost, contacts for booking and venue requirements for those activities.  Witkowsky said she hopes the group will be able to present some innovative ideas for programming next year.

Those who are interested in serving on the Student Engagement Advisory Board can fill out an application available in the Room 006 of the OUC before Nov. 15.