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Student Fee Board Hears CAPS, SOTP Allocation Requests

The University Park Student Fee Board reconvened Friday morning to hear allocation request presentations from the university’s Student Orientation and Transition Program (SOTP) and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).

Representatives from SOTP kicked off the morning’s meeting by outlining their organization’s allocation request.Their presentation focused on SOTP’s three welcome programs, which aim to make new students’ transition to University Park life smooth after they arrive on campus through events such as Friday Night Lights and LateNight in the HUB.

The presentation outlined a $112,000 total allocation request, citing an expanded version of its interactive theatre production “Results Will Vary*” in the fall, its annual Spring Welcome Week, and 2020’s summer welcome program, which will cater to an estimated 2,000 new first-year students and include a Las Vegas-themed pool party.

“It’s kind of like you’re at the Palms, but you’re at the natatorium instead,” said SOTP Director Dan Murphy.

The SOTP request represents a $2,000 decrease from the organization’s previous request.

Senior Director of CAPS Ben Locke then presented his organization’s request, which totaled $825,740 for its third year of Student Fee Board funding, a $20,926 increase over last year’s allocation.

Locke noted that CAPS primarily uses its Student Fee funds to expand its staff, fill salaries and provide benefits. He said this year’s allocation would be used to hire a record specialist for CAPS in an attempt to conglomerate mental health records from twenty campuses into a single system.

Locke noted that at the end of the fall semester, CAPS had about 200 students on its wait list, and added that it struggles with increasingly full referral practices off campus.

“This year, we expect to serve about ten percent of the [student] population,” Locke said, adding that the organization’s utilization rate will increase as its staff grows. “Each new resource that we add allows us to provide more treatment, but not unlimited treatment.”

The Board then voted to approve the hearing of four funding proposals. Requests from OPP to present proposals for an expanded Omnicharger system currently available in the Pattee and Paterno Library and a proposed expansion of the land available to Penn State’s Student Farm were approved unanimously by the Board. The Board also approved a recommendation to hear presentations regarding the partial funding of a $1.25 million renovation of the Robeson Gallery in the HUB, as well as the proposed addition of a student engagement space with increased accessibility and safety measures on campus.

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About the Author

Jim Davidson

Jim is a junior English and history major and the features editor for Onward State. He, like most of the Penn State undergraduate population, is from 'just outside Philadelphia,' and grew up in Spring City, Pennsylvania. He covers a variety of Penn State topics, but spends nine months of every year waiting for the start of soccer season. You can reach him via email at [email protected] or follow him on twitter @messijim.

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