Print Edition: November 30, 2011
Between December 5th and 9th, UFV students have a decision to make: CIVL, UFV’s campus radio station, is asking for students’ vote to increase funding. Right now, every student at UFV pays CIVL three dollars per semester as part of student fees. Through the referendum starting on the fifth, CIVL is asking students to increase this contribution to seven dollars per semester; this increase will almost triple the total funding they receive from students – from $70,000 to $190,000 a year.
“The station doesn’t and never did want to ask students for a lot of money, but originally it looked like CIVL could sustain itself with less,” station manager Aaron Levy explained, “And the changing global financial situation makes that a little tougher.”
Right now, Levy is the resident jack-of-all-trades at CIVL; as the only paid employee, he not only manages the station but is responsible for marketing, programming, fundraising, dealing with technical issues, organizing, training, supervising, and recruiting student volunteers . It’s a lot for any single person to keep on top of, and if students approve this increase, CIVL would be able to hire at least one more full-time employee. First on the wish list is hiring a programming coordinator, and hopefully an additional two part-time employees as well.
“Hiring a programming coordinator will allow more time for volunteers to be supported by a focused staff member,” said Levy, “and [we] will be able to provide more intensive direction and mentoring to the students.”
Rebekah Makepeace is one CIVL volunteer who visited classes to raise awareness about the referendum. “I was lucky enough to do a work study with CIVL and it was great experience for me,” she said, “and I hope, in the future, other UFV students will be able to have the same opportunity… I think it’s really cool that UFV students and our surrounding community members have access to this alternative media outlet.”
Right now, 25 UFV students run their own radio shows on a weekly basis, as well as 25 community members. “The diversity is amazing,” said Makepeace, “We have shows that offer everything from Polish reggae to classical music.”
CIVL is more than open to adding to this schedule as well – any interested student is more than welcome to drop by the CIVL offices in C building and become involved.
If students choose to increase funding, their contributions will directly affect a number of individuals, who will receive increased funding and support from CIVL. But Levy is also looking towards the future of CIVL as a whole: “Our functioning at present is not sustainable,” he said. “We are functioning fairly excellently now, but [it] leaves no room for error, essentially.”
Part of the proposed increase would ensure that CIVL could start saving up a pool of funds to make sure that the station can handle tough times, should they arise. A financial advisor estimated that a station like CIVL should be putting away about five per cent of overall funding as a nest egg – which could then go towards emergency repairs or upgrades, or cover CIVL if operating costs suddenly rise. Right now, Levy says, having a safety net fund like this is simply a luxury the station can’t afford.
Students often balk at having to pay more for anything; however, Levy said, “If this increase goes through…it will allow us to avoid having to request a student fee increase for a long time.”
As things stand now, CIVL needs this increase to hire enough employees to support itself properly, and to update its equipment to be on par with other, similar university stations across Canada.
The referendum runs online at myUFV from December 5th to 9th. Students can vote “Yes” to increase funding to seven dollars, or “No” to keep funding at the current three dollars a semester.