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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Activities & Organizations

Urban Experience Program requests funds for programming, graduate assistant post


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The Student Fees Advisory Committee heard a presentation from the Urban Experience Program on Friday. The program provides individualized advising for minority and at-risk students. | Emily Burleson/The Cougar

During its presentation to the Student Fees Advisory Committee on Friday, the Urban Experience Program requested almost $42,000 in one-time funds alongside their base budget request of $131,602 for fiscal year 2018.

The one-time requests will be used to fund programming and continue with a graduate assistant positions.

Funding for the graduate assistant position was asked as a base augmentation in fiscal year 2017, however, and SFAC approved it as a one-time request.

“We are realizing that a student may come in one day for meal cards. That’s today, but then he will eat again tomorrow,” said UEP Director Raven Jones. “The program focuses on advising minority and at-risk students on more than just academics. We need to have a long-term and short-term solution.”

Another area where students sometimes fall through the cracks is through gaps in available housing, Jones said.

“[We] offer students temporary housing. This group does experience a sort of housing insecurity based on maybe even being international students,” Jones said. “They may not have a place to go during holidays or breaks like the summer. They may not have the money to stay on campus.”

Other requests from UEP were to fund meal cards/swipes through Auxiliary Services, offer jobs on campus and for assistance in the UEP office.

UEP also requested an increase in budget for student scholarships, peer-to-peer mentoring and cultural programming. The cultural programs are focused on increasing the minority population’s access to college resources as well as increasing student involvement in college-wide events and partake in college traditions.

The peer-to-peer mentorship program is an intervention model that has increased the membership in UEP in the past year.

Other topics discussed were the funding of high school and parent programs along with a year-round, application-based membership process. Students are aided based on their area of need when they apply to join UEP.

“I am happy I found UEP my sophomore year because I truly don’t think I would still be here if I hadn’t,” said accounting senior Dalinda Oliver, a first-generation college student.  “The reason I decided to come back and be a student leader for UEP is because I wanted to become a liaison for someone who was in the dark, not knowing how to study effectively, but coming to someone who truly cared.”

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