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Key to successful semester: utilizing campus resources

Submitted by Alexis Williams on January 29, 2014 – 11:18 amNo Comment

 

Illustration by Paige Mason

For those students wanting to uphold their New Year’s Resolutions, the rush of responsibilities that ensues after Christmas break can often hinder their efforts. To combat this, UALR offers a plethora of resources to keep students on the right track to a successful spring semester.

Student tuition does not only encompass the price for each course taken.  A portion of each student’s tuition subsidizes many of the programs that would otherwise be on a  pay-to-play system: the $35 health fee entitles students to unlimited visits to Health Services (on-campus health clinic), the $41 tech fee entitled students to unlimited use of the Computer Lab, and the $16 activity fee funds many of the non-academic student programs. Therefore, utilizing campus resources is not only “a good idea”, but it is also financially-savvy. Student tuition has paid for these programs so that students may most fully benefit from them. (Note: the dollar amounts provided are based on 15 credit hours.)

For any student who has not felt his or her way around campus, picking out an area of involvement can be daunting. With over 130 registered student organizations, UALR is the perfect place to find one’s niche or branch out and explore something new.

The first place students should visit for more info is the Office of Campus Life. Those folks are always eager to help a current or prospective student get involved on campus.

“I would advise a student seeking more social involvement to first get involved with the Office of Campus Life. We oversee about 130 student organizations, so there’s an organization for every student,” said Cynda Alexander, Non-Traditional Student Program Coordinator in the Office of Campus Life. “If we don’t have one that you don’t like, you can form one, whether you live on campus or not. Kara Matthews [Diversity Programs Coordinator] plans the month celebrations for our diverse student population. Emily Cox [University Programs Council Advisor] handles all of our big events that we bring to campus. Emily is in charge of our big family carnival that we do every year in the fitness center. You can join the UPC and have a say and get involved. You can do volunteer work because we have lots of volunteer opportunities.”

Alexander said the several big events are coming up, the Cardboard Boat Regatta on Mar. 7 and Homecoming on Mar. 8.

“I think they’re going to do a little bit of tailgating at the Jack Stephens Center. And the regatta is always fun. I would love to see some student organizations put a boat in. We have a lot of stuff coming up, almost something every week.”

Emily Cox is Advisor of University Programs Council and actively seeks out new activities. She said that the University Program Council has a wide variety of events scheduled for the spring semester including magician Steven Stone, Comedian Erin Jackson, and the game show “Blizzard of Bucks”.

“Steven Stone is a southern raised magician who has been captivating audiences around the world for years,” Cox said. “Stone is perhaps one of the only shows where audience members are offered the best seats in the house…right on stage.

Erin Jackson, armed with a megawatt smile and a pocket full of dreams, is poised to conquer the world of stand-up.  Erin has performed stand-up on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham, and TV Guide Network’s Standup in Stilettos.”

Cox also expounded on the Blizzard of Bucks game show.

“The game show features several 60-second challenges in which audience members can compete against each other for a chance to step into the “INCREDIBLE MONEY MACHINE” where an audience member could walk away with up to $500 in cash! Audience members will get the opportunity to win cash and prizes with various contests throughout the game show- and all contestants receive a free t-shirt!”

The University Programs Council is not just an organizations for students. Students can join, too. “The University Program Council allows students to be fully engaged in the event planning process,” Cox said. “Students who are members of UPC vote on all events that UPC brings to campus and they get the first-hand experience of planning and executing the events. UPC members can also propose potential programs and/or entertainers to be brought to campus for future events.

“All of our events are fun, engaging, and meant to bring the student population together to allow them to get to know each other and make UALR a fun place!” Cox said. “The best thing about UPC is that all events (and membership) are free to all UALR students.”

Students can find a list of UPC and Campus Life Programs listed on their website at ualr.edu/campuslife.

“I have been a part of UPC for about 3 semesters now, and I have had the chance to really see the University Programs Council bloom and blossom. I now have the grand opportunity to hold the position as Entertainment Executive Chair,” said Ericka Henson, UPC Entertainment Executive Chair and sophomore business marketing major.

“The University Programs Council offers something you are not going to get with any other group organization on campus,” Henson explained. “You have all these different organizations, that all are about a particular thing. The Spanish Club, Writers Network, Rwandan Student Organization, Biology Club, etc., they all draw in a particular group of people.

However, UPC is open for all of those people; there is no particular cultural or pinpointed interest needed to be a part of the University Programs Council. We bring the diversity of the students here at UALR, together, and that is why we stand out to students.”

For students who would like to invest time in one particular facet, UALR offers them such experiences. Jared Perry is a junior English major and a first-year brother of Pi Kappa Alpha. He shared his experience with his fraternity.

“Pike helps to [develop] you as a person. Everybody has some kind of talent, but what Pi Kappa Alpha helps you do is ground you out in the areas that you lack. One of the main things I learned was how to talk to people and be more friendly and personal.”

Brittany Wright is a sophomore mass communication major who has been a part of “Trojan Talk” since it began last semester. It is an organization that seeks to inform men and women about what the other is really like.

“I like getting to know the opinions of both guys and girls. We never know unless we ask questions, and this is the opportunity to open up to each other. And it is really entertaining. [The students] get riled up a little bit.”

This university provides several opportunities for students seeking tutoring or additional study aid. Student Support Services offers services including but not limited to tutoring and study spaces, personal, academic, and career counseling, and graduate school preparation. The SSS is located in suite 105 of the speech building.

Students learning a foreign language may profit from the opportunities of the Language Resource Center. The language lab is a hybrid cross of a computer lab and a cultural mecca.

“The purpose of the Language Resource Center, commonly known as the Language Lab, is to provide students a space to practice their language skills through various means…internet activities, writing, viewing DVDs, recording their voices, listening to various audio recordings, preparing film clips or Powerpoint presentations for class,” said Sharon Sellars, director of the Language Resource Center and senior instructor of French.

Sellars said that the LRC offers the opportunity to hear native speakers, practice pronunciation, vocabulary and grammatical structures and prepare for class. “The LRC has 24 laptop computers plus a printer for student use. In addition, the LRC offers faculty the opportunity for the entire class to work together on a writing or listening project, view a DVD or foreign film, or take an exam in a “smart” facility. We try to offer the latest technology and are constantly updating our equipment and materials.”

Students who are either native speakers or language majors staff the LRC, Sellars said. They primarily assist students in French, Spanish, and English but have materials in other languages (like German).

Sellars said the LRC is used for many activities. “Several times a year we host a French or Spanish film night plus many students use the lab to study, meet with a study group to review for exams, practice oral skits for class, or meet for tutoring.”

The language lab serves as a conduit for instructor learning as well.

“Over the past semesters, we have hosted professional development workshops for teachers in the Little Rock area plus students touring UALR on various recruitment days. We have a weekly Spanish conversation table, plus the French and Spanish Clubs and Honor Societies use the space.”

Sellars is very welcoming to foreign language communication in the lab. “We hope the LRC provides students a welcoming place to study and practice language skills, collaborate with other students and faculty, and hopefully enhance class performance in pleasant space…a place to communicate!”

The Language Resource Center is located in Stabler Hall, room 201.

For students struggling with writing essays, or just wanting someone to critique their work, the University Writing Center answers that need. In addition to offering writing strategies, the student intern fully read each student’s paper and then provide meaningful feedback to the student. The Writing Center is located in the Student Union B, room 116.

The Mathematics Assistance Center “is now a one place stop for students needing mathematics help”, states the center’s UALR webpage. They provide assistance across the spectrum, from pre-core mathematics (ALEKS) and college algebra to physics and statistics. The MAC lab is located in Dickinson Hall, room 600.

In addition to Health Services, students may benefit from simple physical fitness programs. The DSC Fitness Center, colloquially known as “the gym”, acts as the hub for much of student activity. The gym provides space and equipment for activities such as basketball weightlifting. By presenting their student ID, adventurous students may also rent out camping and backpacking equipment.

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