USU Fee Board to propose new expenses
Band, theater, Blue Bikes fees on the increase list
Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 14:01
The USU Fee Board has met twice in recent weeks and as Thursday’s final meeting approaches, four groups are doing their best to gain support for their respective fee increases. The music and theatre department, Aggie Health and Wellness, Aggie Blue Bikes and the Campus Recreation department are the four main groups asking for an increase.
Meg Campbell, student representative of the music and theatre department, said the extra fees would help the band grow and get the department much-needed upgrades. She said the total the department is asking for is $4 with $1.50 going to the marching and pep bands and the rest going to the department as a whole.
Campbell said the fees for the band would allow them to purchase more music to play during shows, to hire a field coordinator to help with formations and to increase the size of the band. In order to do this, Campbell said the department would give stipends and additional scholarships to the band members.
“For a lot of people, the band’s a big time commitment,” Campbell said, explaining the need for better band benefits.
She said the money would help the band recruit more members for the pep band too and could help form a total of three small pep bands, each with its own style.
Campbell said the other $2.50 would go to the production department to offset the cost of students going to shows for free and toward buying better equipment for the theatre that she said was “many years outdated.”
“We have so many pieces of equipment that are outdated in all of our facilities that we can’t keep up financially,” Campbell said. “We actually have people come to us saying that they want to perform on our stage but by the time we have rent all of the equipment to put on their show it’s too expensive and they go to the Eccles.”
She also said the level of theatre education was hindered because of poor equipment.
“Our students are being taught on old equipment,” Campbell said. “They’re going out into the world having practiced on tech boards and on stages that are far outdated.”
The fee is proposed to be ongoing in order to replace all equipment over the course of several years and to continue replacing old equipment as it’s seven-year lifespan ends.
Zach Portman of ASUSU and James Davis, the director of the Student Health and Wellness Center, are helping the wellness center petition for a 50 cents increase in fees to fund better psychiatric care.
“It would generate an estimated $15,000 a year in revenues that would go toward supporting more psychiatric hours on campus,” Portman said. “There’s already psychiatric services offered through the health center and they’re really overloaded so this is proposing to contract out more hours for that.”
According to the proposal document, psychiatric service requests have increased by 45 percent since 2011 and any patients who wish to see the psychiatrist have to schedule one to two weeks in advance.
The document reads that either more clinical hours for Dr. Kenneth Merrell, the current provider, will be bought or an additional doctor will be provided.
The third petition is from Aggie Blue Bikes asking for $1.75. Elizabeth Kirkham, the student representative for ABB, said the group is losing a good portion of their money this year.
“They’ve been funded a lot on Americorps grants up to this point,” Kirkham said. “A lot of those are ending this year.”
Kirkham said they would have to cut bike repair staff down from six to three people if the petition didn’t pass, making it harder for them to be effective in helping students.
Kirkham said another reason they need the money is to purchase more storage room for their bikes and hire a shop manager to train staff members how to fix bikes and run the shop so the program coordinator, who had been doing this, could focus more on paperwork.
The last petition brought before the fee board is for Campus Recreation, which is asking for $5.00 in order to hire an assistant director of facilities operations and an IT systems specialist.
According to the campus recreation fee proposal, the assistant facilities manager will be placed in charge of overseeing all recreational facilities at USU including the new Aggie Life and Wellness Center. The systems specialist will oversee all campus recreation computers and software in the new life and wellness center.