Non-profit programs target broad range of student body
Students provide vital funding needed by non-profit organizations on campus. While all students have to pay the fees that sponsor events such as Dawgs Night Out, not all students take advantage of them.
Emily Craske, coordinator of Student Programs at the Student Center, said the aim of the event — which featured free activities such as laser tag, crafts and casino games — is to bring in 2,000 to 3,000 students.
SIU requires students to pay a number of fees each semester to help fuel the university’s budget. For non-profit organizations like the Student Programming Council, the activity fee and the co-sponsoring of on-campus events are essential.
Held for four hours on a Friday night, Dawgs Nite Out is organized by the Student Programming Council each semester and receives funding from many on-campus organizations. Co-sponsors such as Recreational Sports and Services,
University Housing, the Residence Hall Association, the Student Wellness Center, New Student Programs and the Student Center all contribute to the budget and success of the event.
Don Castle, associate director of the Student Center, said these groups provide most of the funding and contribute equally for the most part.
Castle said funding is a combination of student fees and operational money from campus departments, because many of the sponsors are fee-funded.
The activity fee funds the SPC much like the housing fees fund the Residence Hall Association, he said.
He said the SPC would like to host more events like Dawgs Night Out, but always depends on available funding.
SPC receives all of its funding by requesting it from the Undergraduate Student Government.
Craske said the process for requesting funds from USG is similar to the process Registered Student Organizations have to go through as far as paperwork and formalities to request funding.
She said there’s a lot of logistics, volunteer work and campus community resources that come together to plan Dawgs Night Out and similar events.
Sarah VanVooren, assistant director of the Student Center, said it’s important to have events that are inclusive of all types of students. Having activities that don’t cater to one specific group attracts that wide variety of students, she said.
Rob Boryk, a graduate student from Cleveland, Ohio studying ceramics, demonstrated how to throw clay to make pottery Friday night. He said activities such as pottery at the Craft Shop in the Student Center are stress-relieving.
“It’s nice not having a grade looming over your head so you don’t have to worry about your creation being good or bad,” he said.
Kent Epplin, a two-time alumnus in 1992 and 2011 and library manager for Academic Support Services, attended Dawgs Nite Out with his children Hannah, 11, and Will, 8. He said it’s a good chance for new and old students to get out and meet people.
“It’s also a great place to hang out outside of a residence or going and spending money on the strip,” he said.
“Attending these events really makes you feel like part of a university,” said Candice Burney, a junior from Dix studying psychology and social work. “You can tell so much planning and effort went into the event it makes it seem like the university cares.”
Making that connection with a university and forming friendships is important for a number of reasons, Craske said.
“If a student has friends and feels connections to the university, whether through residence halls
or student organizations, there’s no doubt in my mind that they will stay on campus longer and have more academic success,” she said.