Changes coming to the Union
Cultural centers balance program quality despite budget cuts
Published: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 00:08
There are many changes coming to the Union this semester.
The first of many changes includes a $75 fee to reserve the game room for two hours, according to Jaclyn Cataldo, the Event Services student assistant.
Moreover, the Union is now going online with a new interactive map uploaded to Google Maps that allows browsers to interactively travel through the Union and find different rooms and areas.
Finally, the Student Union Mall will be closed off for the 2013-2014 academic year due to construction.
“This will be a huge change for the year,” Cataldo said.
Many of the concerts and events, such as Relay for Life, that are held on the mall will need to be held elsewhere.
“No one will be able to walk on it and we have had to cancel many bookings,” Cataldo said.
The closure, nonetheless, does not inhibit the Asian American Cultural Center’s 20th anniversary festivities. Kal Penn, best known for his role as Kumar in “Harold and Kumar,” will be kicking off the celebration on Thursday, Sep 5 at Jorgensen Center. Penn will be speaking about his life story and experiences. Admission is free for UConn students, and $10 for all others.
“We wanted to celebrate in style,” said Sheila Kucko, Assistant Director of the Asian American Cultural Center (AACC). “It took us all summer, but we were finally able to schedule him”.
Kal Penn’s visit is only one of the many events the AACC will be holding this year. On Oct 15, Frank Wu, ranked the most influential dean in legal education by the National Jurist and the first Asian-American professor to teach at Howard Law School, will be coming to speak at UConn.
Kucko hopes to see another “big-name person” visit UConn in April to conclude the 20th anniversary celebration, but this has not been easy.
“We have had to reconsider our programs and events after budget cuts this year,” Kucko said.
Fany Hannon, the director of the Puerto Rican/Latin American Cultural Center (PRLACC, strives to make the center a “home away from home.”
Recent budget cuts, however, are making this very difficult.
“We can no longer provide food for student events,” Hannon said. “We still want to protect our students, work with them and make sure they have the full college experience, but it’s tough.”
The center is shortening its hours of operation, limiting services, and re-considering events to meet the new budget.
“We won’t sacrifice quality, but we must be wise,” Hannon said. “Times like these give us an opportunity to be creative.”