Media, Arts present at second day of SFAC
Fee-funded organizations deployed their representatives to the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center to defend their causes and request the approval of their annual budgets for fiscal year 2015. Ten of the more than 30 organizations went through the process of winning the hearts and minds of the Student Fees Advisory Committee on Wednesday. SFAC is the designated body that provides the budget recommendations that make their way to President and Chancellor Renu Khator.
Big changes ahead
The Center for Student Media, composed of The Daily Cougar, Coog Radio and Student Video Network, presented requests to SFAC, focusing on obtaining funds for new equipment and marketing.
The Daily Cougar Editor in Chief Channler K. Hill spoke about the great changes that The Daily Cougar will face in the future and its need for more online content, more marketing promotions and more digital training tools.
Beginning in Fall 2014, The Daily Cougar will become a weekly paper published only on Wednesdays. It will be a larger edition, featuring 16 to 24 pages. This cut in production enables the paper to be more cost-effective and allows the media group to spend more time focusing on its Internet presence and web content.
In order to focus on web content and a larger readership, The Daily Cougar made requests to receive a larger budget for camera equipment, as well as new ways to distribute the paper and reach a larger audience.
Other media groups, too, were faced with obstacles. SVN President Sophia Pereira’s main focus was obtaining a budget to increase the stipend for the studio manager position. She said the manager has many responsibilities, such as checking out equipment and channel operation, and that an increase in funding is vital because of the SVN studio in the new UC.
Marketing was something that each of the media organizations stressed. Coog Radio Station Director Samantha Wong emphasized its need for funding in order to get students engaged and listening. She also felt that promotional efforts would help increase its campus presence, including marketing and outreach around campus.
David Bertman, the director of bands and associate professor of music, fought to keep student-fee funding for the Spirit Squad to continue to build up the program to the level of other, larger music programs.
“We find ourselves not able to support cheer and dance programs that is at the level consistent with other schools. We make our overall budget work by taking from different areas. I think it’s time to look at our cheer coaches with full time positions,” Bertman said. “University of Texas, University of Oklahoma — they have full time coordinators.”
Travel and new instrument purchases are some of the costlier expenses, which the director requested to maintain the program’s competitiveness. To put travel costs in perspective, Bertman said it takes $7,000 to take the band just to Reliant Stadium.
SFAC Chair Charles Haston was unsure of the band’s priorities and required more details before recommending a budget approval.
“We’d like to see a band that is able to perform at a level where we can get the most out of them, but we aren’t at that point where we’ve enabled you guys to do that. We need to know what your priorities are, and we need a list of priorities from you. We need you guys to prepare what you guys are asking for, so that we have some idea what we’re dealing with here,” Haston said.
SFAC ran out of time when discussing the requested funds. It will reconvene at a future date to further discuss the issue.
Student Affairs IT Services
Student Affairs IT Services, which provides information technology support to a variety of departments within the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services, discussed its need for more computers, applications and software support. They went into detail about its FY One-Time Allocation requests and base augmentation. A large portion of the money would be spent on new computers.
UC Marketing Director Lawrence Daniel hopes this request will help increase technology innovation and support the students, staff and organizations at UH.
“I think it’s a bold move. I think it’s really going to enhance sources that we can provide the students by supporting the staff, the student staff and organizations,” Daniel said.
“It will definitely make us more innovative in regards to different technology. It’s more of us increasing our technology support for these departments so they can in turn create services for students who aren’t delayed or are more innovative by nature.”
For FY14, a budget forecast of a total of $485,480 was requested with $27,480 for the administrative charge and $458,000 for a total of 393 computers. For the following three years, a base funding of $57,805 each year was forecast.
Additional reporting by Amy Zuckero.