Michael Bellmore, Staff Writer-
Every Thursday, hungry Southern students congregate in the halls outside of the student common area and canteen in Engelman Hall. They heap piles of peanut butter, blobs of jelly, and dollops of fluff between slices of white bread. They grab a milk to go. And all for free.
“A lot of students always ask if there’s a catch,” said Damian Gray, a sophomore majoring in social work.
But there are no catches, except maybe for the student fees that all SCSU students pay at the beginning of each semester, which go to student organized events like these.
Jaime Hutchinson, a senior and organizational communications major who runs the peanut butter and jelly event with Gray, says that she feels good about providing gratis snacks, especially considering that commuters sometimes miss the chance to eat before classes.
“I’m a commuter, so it’s really convenient,” said senior Sadaf Khan, a public health major. “And peanut butter and jelly — who doesn’t like it?”
Though the Programs Council may sound innocuous, it organizes fun events like these in an effort to make the day to day more enjoyable for Southern Students.
“It programs events for students for between studying, after studying — it’s something recreational for students to do, and keeps them involved,” said Katherine Bolt, a sophomore and commuter committee representative for the Programs Council.
Bolt said that ProCon, as it is called by its members, is divided into a number of committees, including music, special events, social issues, and entertainment. Each aims to give students the chance to do things they might not have had the chance to do otherwise. This may be as simple as providing a free cup of coffee and bagel to students after a long commute, or could be as involved as chartering buses for on-campus students so they can visit Connecticut’s malls.
Each committee caters to different segments of campus life. The special events committee, which is headed by Andriana Stefak, organizes off-campus activities. Stefak
said they’re planning trips to Broadway, Six Flags and Boston — a Jersey Shore day is even in the works.
And these excursions are affordable. The Broadway trip, for instance, will cost students only half ticket price, Stefak says. For 25 dollars, students will receive both transportation into New York City and entrance to the show. The cost to ProCon, Stefak said, is significantly more substantial.
“Handling everything, I was like, that’s a lot of money,” Stefak said. She said she has been encouraged to spend it while she can, “because it won’t be here next semester.”
Bolt said that she wants ProCon to do more community service, namely by reaching out to New Haven school systems. She said that this won’t replace the recreational events planned, like the Laser Tag tournament that is to be held in the ballroom on Mar. 2, but she said at ProCon they’re always looking forward.
And because of that, when it comes to funding, more is always better, Bolt said.
According to Bolt, “We get a reasonable amount. Sometimes our ideas are bigger than what we can do, because we have big ideas.”
But for the most part, ProCon provides much for Southern’s students with their resources.
Stefak said, “I’m very happy to see the amount of money that we have. It really lets us do more than I expected.”
And to those looking to participate more in the Southern community, ProCon is open to all.
When describing her first introduction to the members of the Programs Council, Bolt said, “They were so welcoming, so warm, and so loving. It’s like a big old family.”