Changes in structure to the University Program Center (UPC), previously known as the University Program Council, provides more opportunities for students to be involved.
After nearly a year of research and a change in name, a new structure has been implemented for the group that organizes and hosts on-campus events for students.
Heidie Lindsey, the associate dean of students and director of Student Engagement and Leadership, said that the changes to UPC occur as an attempt to rebrand.
“We were looking to see if there was anything we could do to refresh the branding,” Lindsey said. “What are best practices? What are other universities doing in terms of student programming?”
In researching, the office found that division of responsibilities was the best practice for an effective, engaging programming center. Now, students involved with UPC work on different boards, each of which has a student chair and faculty advisor. Students working with the center are equals and work together to organize and host events.
After extensive research, changes were implemented over the course of the year. Last fall, most changes were implemented and changes in structure for UPC were enacted. Lindsey said that by using comparisons to other programming centers at various universities, they were able develop the new model.
“Duties are spread out amongst several students so that they can all get experience with it,” Lindsey said.
Now, there are three boards that collaborate with one another. The cultural connections board, student activities board and the university traditions board. About 10 students work on each board.
The student activities board is in charge of organizing entertainment and activities for students and hosts events ranging from movie nights to performances from comedians for students to enjoy.
The cultural connections board focuses on educating and providing awareness to the student body about different cultures.
“Cultural connections is everything from affinity based cultures, to international students to celebrating different cultures like Women’s History Month, right? Black History Month, so it’s all cultures, even including LGBTQ,” Lindsey said. “Any kind of subset, or population of students that kind of has its own culture or people that have some culture.”
The university traditions board keeps long-running campus events in place, such as Lagniappe Day and Homecoming.
The faculty advisors of each board meet on a regular basis and collaborate to host activities and events for the student body.
Students can expect an increase in organized events hosted by the UPC. The increase in staff, most of which was recruited last fall after the expansion of the center, allows for larger, well-planned events.
The change in name from University Program Council to University Program Center comes as an invitation to all students at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
“We decided on ‘center’ because we also want a space that is welcoming and inviting to all students, not just students on the board,” Lindsey said. “Any student can come in there and find out what’s happening on campus.”
Lindsey encourages students to stop by the office in the Student Union to see how they get involved with the UPC. Applications to serve on the board open in the fall, but in the meantime students can volunteer and get involved.
“It’s fun to watch and it’s fun to see them produce events and be proud and be happy about it,” Lindsey said.
Lindsey said that promotion of UPC events and happenings has improved since the changes in structure.
The best way to stay up to date about UPC events is by following their Instagram @upcatul. Be on the lookout for students who work with the organization table around campus and put up advertisements for events before they happen.