Following the recommendations, the only action item for discussion was the recent proposal for the Associated Students to help fund a proposal for an LCD big screen. Two rough sketches were presented with different ideas and costs. The difference between the two was the software used and the quality of the programming.
A conversation began amongst members of the board and Jim Schuster, Director of Viking Union Facilities about the software program chosen and whether or not this particular program was worth investing in. Mark Iozzi, Associated Students President, felt that this was “the Cadillac of digital signage” and expressed concern of the amount of funding that would come from the Associated Students.
Other board members questioned where the advertising television would be placed, how the monitors would be used, if the advertising television was to be used anywhere else, and who would monitor the system. More questions were addressed as to if the Associated Students would need to fund another position to fill the role of monitoring the system.
Associated Students Senate Chair Seth Hersch said that in the previous student senate meeting there was a good dialogue amongst the student senators about the digital signage or LCD big screen proposal. The dialogue consisted about possibly utilizing the screen for advertising of locally-owned businesses and campus events.
After Iozzi made this statement, Schuster responded, saying a significant amount of time was spent into looking at all the options and picking the best for the students. He then went on to add that the Associated Students were not originally apart of the proposal, but that because of the donor wanting to have his money matched it was a good opportunity for the Associated Students to be a part of the project. He said, “it’s going to happen anyway, so why not be apart of it.”
A further explanation of the proposal and donor followed. A donor donated $14,000 for the screen, which set the advertising television proposal into motion. As explained, the Associated Students couldn’t have been contacted to work with them because it was unknown that working with the Associated Students was an option.
The initial project total is $17,000 with additional sign locations with the display already in place (Arntzen Atrium and the Recreation Center) costing $4,950 per location. The cost for screens without a display already in place would total $8,150 to $10,150. Lastly, the annual cost of operation would be $8,102.
More discussion followed ranging from how this can be used to increase the Associated Student voice on campus, if there would be enough money to partially fund a new position, and that the Associated Students were not interested in profit advertising.
James Sanders, Vice President for Academic Affairs, who felt like it would be a really good opportunity for the Associated Students, proposed that $4,000 be allocated towards funding the screen in the Viking Union and that further discussion follow to determine if the position could be funded through the Associated Students.
It was a 6 to 1 vote, with Stefan Kalb, Associated Students Vice President of Business and Operations, calling dissent. The proposal was passed with a majority vote. Kalb later said he didn’t want to vote for something that was so vague with still a lot of questions left answered like if an how the position would be funded and the guidelines.
Kalb went on to add that all of the questions left open should hopefully be answered by the end of the school year, but there is not an actual date for the remaining decisions. He mentioned that if students are concerned with the digital screen proposal, as with any board decision, that he/she either send their concerns via email or come to a board meeting.
The Board of Directors meets every Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Viking Union 567. The meetings are open to students and the community with an opportunity to make comments during the public forum.