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April 21, 2003

ULM Students to Vote on Student Life at Upcoming Elections

Students at the University of Louisiana at Monroe will have the opportunity to vote on a proposed referendum pertaining to the Student Union Building (SUB), Campus Activities Board (CAB) (formerly Union Board), and the Student Government Association (SGA). Together, these are referred to as the "Student Life" fee. Voting will take place on-line from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on both April 22-23. Students can vote at http://www.ulm.edu.

The Student Life fee, if passed, will increase fees by $45. This money would go to help with remodeling of the current Student Union Building and more funding for student life activities such as concerts and other events.

Duke Johnson, Coordinator of Campus Programs, encourages students to vote "yes" to Student Life for better facilities, better services, and better entertainment.

Currently, full time students pay $110.45 a semester in activity fees according to the 2002-2003 ULM student catalog. The increase would have students paying $155.45 a semester, $45 more than they already do.

The funding, if passed, breaks down like this: $2.67 will be added to the current $2.33 the SGA already receives from student fees, giving them an even $5 for their budget, CAB will receive an additional $12.33 to their budget for a grand total of $20 per semester, and the remaining $30 will go towards renovations to the SUB.

Martha Upshaw, Advisor to the SGA, said a "yes" vote to Student Life would mean immediate impact and immediate positive change for ULM.

"If the Student Life fee is passed, students can look forward to better concerts, more student activities and a more modern student union building. The money that will go to the SGA, CAB and the renovations to the SUB will make a big difference in the look, feel, and atmosphere of this campus. The Student Life initiative will benefit current and prospective students as well as the community," said SGA president, Charlie Cheatham.

The original portion of the SUB was built in 1939, with several renovations following, the last of which was in 1980. The SUB is currently home to several student organizations, a few administrative offices, a bowling alley and billiards room, and a Chick-Fil-A. From the Indian mosaic on the side of the building to the brown and orange d├ęcor reminiscent of the era it was built, the SUB is the center of ULM's student life.

Some changes to a revamped SUB would include an all night computer lab, a late night coffee shop/lounge, a ballroom and meeting rooms for campus organizations. The new SUB would also serve as a campus information center, providing students with a one-stop shop for any information they need concerning ULM.

There is a conceptual drawing of a renovated SUB available on the ULM web site. It calls for the demolition of the Indian Bank and Campus Corner bookstore. The concept also calls for the current SUB and the old SUB to be joined by the walkways to create a single building from the two. The outside renovations will include arched lanterns and more windows to give the SUB an open air feel. The inside renovations will create a plaza atmosphere with much more room for students. The proposed plans are only a concept and are subject to change. If the referendum is passed, the SUB project would have to go through a bid process, thus possibly changing renovation plans.

Speaking of the SUB, Dr. Wayne Brumfield, Vice President for Student Affairs at ULM said, "We want this to be the heart of the campus. As of now our students don't have a central place to congregate." An advocate for the referendum, Dr. Brumfield is asking ULM students to vote yes to the referendum April 22 and 23 online at www.ulm.edu.

"This is a student driven project, so the students have to tax themselves. Students are asking for more programming, but we can't do so without more funding," said Brumfield.

The SGA and CAB play an instrumental part in student life at ULM. CAB is responsible for providing entertainment for students such as concerts, parties and annual events like Spring Fever. The increase would allow them to put on better concerts, more entertainment and more Spring Fever activities.

Charlie Cheatham, SGA president, said the idea for the referendum started this summer and has continuously grown into a full-blown project requiring a referendum committee made up of SGA and CAB members.

Although the referendum requires an increase to fees, many students agree with the increase and plan to vote yes for the referendum next week.

Matthew Howland, senior Computer Information Systems major, says he will definitely vote "yes" to the referendum.

"I'll only be here for one more semester so I won't be able to enjoy the new facility and better programs, but I want to leave my alma mater knowing that it is a better place for future students," Howland said.

"An extra $45 to the thousands of dollars we pay in tuition doesn't seem like much to ask, especially if it is for the betterment of the university."

Floor plans and artist renderings of the concept for the SUB renovations are posted outside the SGA office on the second floor of the SUB. Students can stop by the SGA office to see them and give any suggestions to the SGA.

ULM students will also be voting on SGA and CAB constitution changes, a new SGA president, treasurer and secretary.

Find this and other ULM news at http://www.ulm.edu.

*ULM student Ashley Dougherty contributed to this story.

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