Increased UCAB Budget Funds Tri-Weekly Events
The Usdan Center Activities Board (UCAB) received an increase in funding on a six-week trial basis to increase the number of weekend events they sponsor. In accordance with the University’s participation in the National College Health Improvement Project (NCHIP), the funds are intended to provide alternatives to drinking on weekends.
UCAB board members are responsible for providing free student events on campus. The board, comprised of 14 students and graduate intern Veronica Young, receives guidance from the Office of Student Activities and Leadership Development (SALD) when planning their schedule.
“We brainstorm activities, we brainstorm raffle prizes that we’d like to raffle off, and we work with a budget, usually of about 500 dollars an event,” said board member Leo Liu ’14. “Ultimately we do all of the marketing, publicizing, and Facebook advertising, then we run the event.”
According to UCAB board member Mary Diaz ’14, the board was restricted by its previous lack of funding.
“Before, we stuck more to events oriented around bringing in a vendor and having them doing activities, like the air brush hats,” Diaz said.
The increased budget has allowed for more frequent events, as well as increased diversity in the events hosted and larger prizes. The events will take place on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m., Fridays at 10:00 p.m., and Saturdays at 12:00 a.m.
According to Liu, the events increase in scope as the weekend progresses. Thursday nights are generally reserved for vendors, who bring items such as personalized license plates and airbrushed hats. On Fridays, UCAB hosts larger events such as concerts or karaoke competitions, and Saturdays are reserved for their biggest events, like laser tag and roller skating.
“This semester attendance went up a lot,” Liu said. “For example, at laser tag we had 210 or so people go, and that’s easily the biggest event we’ve ever had.”
Pranab Karki ’15 was one of the many people who attended the laser tag event.
“The wait was pretty long, but in the end worth it,” he said. “I also liked the free snacks [they provided]; that was nice.”
With their increased funding, UCAB has more events lined up for the next few weeks. Future events include concerts, sumo wrestling, a pop culture trivia contest with a $200 cash prize, and many others. They are trying to collaborate with other student groups on campus to provide a variety of alcohol-free options for students on the weekend.
“The main concern is having people come in drunk, but we take the steps we can in preventing that,” Diaz said.
UCAB board members said they hope the additional funding will be extended past the trial period.
“Ultimately, the funding is dependent upon event attendance and student reception received from event surveys,” UCAB board member Matt Donahue ’14 wrote in an email to The Argus.
Director of Public Safety Dave Meyer said he supported the new UCAB events, but acknowledged that merely providing alcohol-free options will not guarantee that students will abstain from drinking.
“We have a lot of alcohol-free events, its just that if kids show up already intoxicated…that’s happened at other alcohol free events,” Meyer said. “Anything that draws a student in a non-alcohol type environment is always great. Students are students, and on Friday and Saturday nights, they want to have fun. If there are activities not based on alcohol that they want to attend, and if they become popular, that’s a good thing.”