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Spring ULS budget increased from leftover fall funding

University Lecture Series will promote its events and speakers with more time in advance as part of an effort to increase student attendance. ORACLE FILE PHOTO

University Lecture Series’ (ULS) spring budget increased with the unused fall semester funding from only hosting one out of two planned events.

The Center for Student Involvement’s (CSI) plan for the 2021-22 year was to have two speakers in the fall and three in spring, according to Isabelle Starner, ULS and special events graduate assistant in CSI. However, Netflix actress Julissa Calderon was the only speaker in fall because the others CSI planned to bring didn’t fit the budget, according to Associate Director of CSI Joshua Wilson.

ULS allotted $40,000 for the fall, but only $28,817 was spent, Starner said. That left $11,183 for a second speaker. The leftover money was carried over, resulting in a new budget total of $134,652 for the spring semester. She said the money will be equally divided between the three lectures, leaving just shy of $45,000 for each.

No dates have been announced yet for the lectures as CSI is still working on contracts with the speakers, but the first speaker should be announced in a few weeks, according to Starner.

“We are still in the contracting process for [the speakers],” she said. “I cannot speak for names yet, but we are moving along very nicely and we are very comfortable with where we are right now.”

Dean of Students Danielle McDonald said there are concerns of the possibility of some events being canceled due to COVID-19-related impacts on staffing.

“What we are seeing however, is that our student staffing and professional staffing are also being impacted by COVID-19,” McDonald said. “That may change some events or cause some events to be canceled if we don’t have enough people that are well enough or able to be on campus to actually provide these activities.”

This semester, ULS plans to promote its featured speakers by allowing more time in advance to spread the word about the event online and around campus to garner more attention and increase attendance.

Only about 35 students attended the fall ULS. It was held in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom which has a capacity of 500. Each event in spring will be held in the MSC Ballroom, Starner said.

“We’ve had a decrease in numbers [of students] just with every single event that’s happened at USF based on students not knowing about events,” she said.

“We are definitely trying to promote very early in advance for our figures coming up, … at least two weeks in advance. With that, we’re hoping more students will be able to come based on word of mouth, based on fliers and based on social media.”