KUCI expanding its outreach

This past week, radio station KUCI and UC Irvine Student Affairs hammered out a new plan aimed at increasing student involvement in KUCI’s management positions.

Some were unsure about Student Affairs’ aim to have a student take over a general manager role. Trying to get more students to take on managerial positions would exclude non-UCI community members from participating.

According to former KUCI general manager Mike Kaspar, there was some concern regarding the situation early on.

“Student Affairs mandated that only a student could run for general manager,” Kaspar said.

In the past 7 years, only two students have been selected for the general manager position.

But after a meeting this past Wednesday with Student Affairs, it was indicated that Student Affairs didn’t want to prohibit community members from taking on management roles.

“[Rather,] they want to see more students involved in the management of the stations,” Kaspar said.

With this clarification, Kaspar explained that there is now “a much clearer relationship with Student Affairs” and a more open line of communication. Furthermore, he was glad that Student Affairs has consistently allowed KUCI to control its content and programming.

Leslie Millerd Rogers, the director of Student Affairs Communications, emphasized that Student Affairs is merely looking to explore opportunities in which students can become more involved with the station.

“I have asked that a group of KUCI stakeholders, students and community members be formed to advise on the following three areas: student involvement and operational structure, budget and fundraising and building stronger KUCI/UCI partnerships,” Rogers said. “We will be looking at opportunities to build greater student involvement while maintaining the tradition of community involvement and commitment to KUCI.”

Currently, 60 percent of KUCI management consists of students, but the target rate that Student Affairs would like to see is to have 80 percent of management roles filled by students.

Beyond the issue of management and taking steps to get students more involved, Kaspar also stressed the importance of employing new measures to improve KUCI’s profile on campus, with assistance from Student Affairs while exploring new routes to obtain additional funding.

While funding remains a concern, Kaspar was optimistic in KUCI’s fundraising abilities due to its annual fund drive this year, in which it raised 30 percent more than the $10,000 it raised last year.

Samantha Varela, the newly appointed student general manager for 2009-10, also addressed some of the initial concerns regarding the changes that Student Affairs wished to see.

“Some members of KUCI had concerns about what the school meant about having more student involvement,” Varela said.

However, Varela reiterated the key point of the changes as the school wanted to get more students involved while working alongside Student Affairs to increase KUCI’s campus exposure. Varela not only plans on doing this with more advertising through the Student Center and maximizing the use of campus resources, but also trying to actively engage students and improve the station’s visibility by organizing more concerts and live shows on campus.

As part of her efforts to increase student involvement, Varela plans to implement some new changes, which KUCI members have been quite supportive of. This includes having mentors for positions to provide guidance and additional support while creating managerial teams for each of the management positions so that students can be more directly involved and assist in some of KUCI’s functions such as advertising, marketing and designing program guides.

“I think having these extra positions will make us a more functioning team and help boost our presence,” Varela said.

Ultimately, Varela hopes that KUCI will remain an outlet for students and community members to play the content they want while giving everyone opportunities to work toward the benefit of the station.

“It’s a matter of making sure,” Varela said, “that everyone who wants to help out at KUCI gets the chance to do so.”