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UPAC Releases Student Activity Fee Spending Summary

Jesse Scott has been a member of the University Park Allocation Committee (UPAC) from 2010-2014 and has served as Chair of the committee for the last two years.  He is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE).

The University Park Allocation Committee (UPAC) is a committee of students who allocate your Student Activity Fee (SAF) to enhance your out-of-class experience here at University Park. As Chair of UPAC, I am one of 8 students who serve on the 13 member SAF board. In collaboration with the Chair of the SAF board, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Andrea Dowhower, I am providing a summary report of how your SAF funds were spent in a semester of the 2012-2013 academic year. It is my hope that this information provides you with greater insight on how your $85 per semester activity fee was used to enhance the experiences of you and your peers. To best explain how funds were utilized, I have created a pie chart that is color coded into 3 categories of spending: Fixed (yellow), Standing (green), and Student Organizations (blue).

Fixed spending shown in the yellow section of the chart is funding that is determined by the SAF board. Approximately 33% of the total fee is used for historical financial obligations approved by the board. The fee originated in 1995 to serve as a funding source for the previous renovation of the HUB-Robeson Center (completed in 1998) while also providing supplemental funds for student-centered programming. The current fixed allocations include supporting the construction of the Student Health Services Building (completed in 2008), providing your undergraduate and graduate student governments with operating budgets, and maintaining a budget for Student Legal Services.

The standing and student organization portions of the chart are funds allocated by UPAC. The standing section, shown in green, provides for campus-wide programming and is comprised of university offices, university affiliate organizations, and student organizations. The 11 groups within this section are as follows: Bryce Jordan Center (BJC), Center for Performing Arts (CPA), Center for Women Students (CWS), Child Care Subsidy, LGBTA Student Resource Center (LGBTA SRC), Office of Student Activities (OSA), Paul Robeson Cultural Center (PRCC), Recreational Sports, Student Programming Association (SPA), Homecoming, and Movin’ On. They each receive yearly allocations to support many of the experiences that you may not realize are funded through the SAF. Most students are familiar with reduced student ticket prices for BJC concerts that happen throughout the year. However, you may not be aware that SAF funds are also used by CPA to make cultural events and performing arts as affordable as possible for all students. The largest portion of standing allocations goes to SPA, which provides dozens of events each semester, including comedians, bands, the Noontime Concert Series each Friday, Distinguished Speaker Series, and LateNight activities Thursdays through Saturdays. The allocation to Recreational Sports reduces the cost of fitness passes, provides referees for intramural sports, and subsidizes a portion of Adventure Recreation experiences. The University’s Child Care Subsidy program utilizes funds to support low-income student parents, enabling them to attend classes and participate in activities. OSA, PRCC, CWS, and LGBTA SRC all support leadership- and diversity-focused programming and activities across the campus, including the Social Justice Spotlight, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, National Coming Out Week, LeaderShape®, Alternative Spring Break service trips, and the Student Involvement fairs. Standing allocations also utilize funds for many of the Homecoming Week activities and the largest student-run outdoor music festival, Movin’ On.

The student organization section, shown in blue on the chart, represents funding allocated and spent by your student organizations. There were 643 UPAC requests, which provided for hundreds of programs from 180 requests, over 2,500 individual student travel experiences from 310 requests, equipment for organizational activities from 35 requests, dozens of print/broadcast media distributions from 18 requests, and operation requests for 100 student organizations. You see examples of the benefits everywhere. If you know about TEDxPSU, Touch of Africa, The Lion 90.7 FM, Michigan State vs. Penn State blood drives, No Refund Theater, Pollock Pallooza, Quadzilla, Valley Magazine, The Phollegian, Campus Weather Service, State Day of Service, Lion Scout Leadership Conference, multiple a cappella performances, workshops for many dance forms, dozens of seminars/lectures, and the weekly movies in the HUB auditorium then you have seen examples of how your student activity fee was spent.

More than two dozen student members of UPAC spend every Tuesday evening reviewing and allocating requests with the goal of enhancing your out-of-class experience. But you the members of the organizations who are planning the programs, publishing the magazines, and broadcasting the music are doing the real work. I hope this information increases your understanding of the Student Activity Fee and its huge impact on you, your classmates, and your friends. If you have any questions about the UPAC process, are interested in requesting funds, or would like to serve as a member of UPAC, please contact me at [email protected].

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About the Author

Jesse Scott

Jesse Scott has been a member of the University Park Allocation Committee (UPAC) from 2010-2014 and has served as Chair of the committee for the last two years. He is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE).

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