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43% of students unsure if they have benefited from UCS programs

Students call for increased programming advertisement, accessibility

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According to a recent poll conducted by The Herald and the Brown Opinion Project, 43% of respondents are “unsure if they have benefited from an Undergraduate Council of Students program or service.” The poll also found that “upperclassmen were more likely to report having benefited from a UCS program or service.”

Ricky Zhong ‘23, UCS president, wrote in an email to The Herald that the poll results were “pretty expected,” due to the fact that this same question has been asked in previous polls and the results have always been “similar or lower.”

However, Zhong wrote that “the question is worded weirdly,” as the services UCS provides to students are often integrated into facilities or residential life. “The question is like asking the Undergraduate Finance Board, ‘What events have you held on campus?’ or asking the Class Coordinating Board what funding decisions they've made in the past year,” Zhong wrote.

Joseph O’Brien ’24 said he is unsure whether has “directly or consciously” benefited from any UCS programs, but noted that he has probably “indirectly benefited” by participating in UCS events on the Main Green.

Zhong attributed this lack of awareness about UCS programs among students to insufficient advertisement. “Students don't know the menstrual products around campus are there because of us, that we installed water filters in a number of dorms on campus, or that we provide shuttles to airports during particular breaks,” Zhong wrote.

But Shannon Feerick-Hillenbrand ’26 said that she feels that she has benefited from UCS programs, but she noted that these programs could be more accessible.

“I think that stuff like A Night on College Hill is a good thing,” she explained. “I wish that they made more (events) more accessible or (had) multiple venues so more people could attend.”

CCB is the primary organizer for A Night on College Hill.

Though Alex Koong ’26 is unsure if he has benefited from any UCS programs, he praised UCS for its airport shuttle bus program during Thanksgiving break, which he learned about from the UCS weekly newsletter. He thinks it would be helpful if UCS put on more events “where they can engage the whole campus and provide services” rather than just putting on events “that not everyone is interested in.”

Zhong partially attributed the results of the poll to the fact that first-years haven’t gotten to use services like the Thanksgiving shuttle yet. “By the time the poll was sent out, half the underclassmen had never heard of our shuttles before and have certainly not been on one,” Zhong wrote.

While O’Brien said more university-wide events would be helpful “to build some community,” Koong and Frederick-Hillebrand said class-specific events are important. “I think that class-specific (events are) just an easier way to figure out what students would want, because I don’t think every grade wants the same thing,” Frederick-Hillebrand said.

Koong also suggested that UCS could be “a little more feedback-oriented,” which would allow it to better understand “what the general student population wants.”

“Some more informational (events) would be helpful,” Frederick-Hillenbrand said, as she does not fully understand the housing lottery process for next year.

Zhong said that while UCS has increased advertising for their events through community-wide weekly emails and the creation of an outreach committee, UCS could still “do a better job.”

“We'll try to do more postering for live events and increase the number of office hours,” Zhong wrote. “It's certainly something we've discussed internally,” he added.

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