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Group changes Campout policy to much debate

At its final general body meeting of the year Tuesday night, the Graduate and Professional Student Council discussed changes concerning next year's graduate student Campout for men's basketball tickets.

Co-chairs of the 2009-2010 GPSC Basketball Committee Felicia Hawthorne, a second-year Ph.D. candidate in genetics and genomics, and Mark Kohler, a second-year Ph.D. candidate in chemistry, presented changes to the Campout registration policy and proposed increasing the registration fee for Campout from $5 to $10. Discussion surrounding changes to the policy was energetic and heated.

Most changes to the policy were not substantial, but one notable change increased the registration period from five to seven days, Kohler said, adding that in previous years registration was only open Monday through Friday. The new policy includes a weekend when students do not have class, giving them more free time to register, he said.

GPSC members scrutinized the basketball committee's budget, T-shirt ordering and distribution methods and the possibility of requiring the use of FLEX to pay the registration fee. Less money will be needed to fund next year's Campout because the event will move back to its normal location in the fall-the back lot and grassy field of the Blue Zone-as opposed to the new Campout venue this past year on the practice fields at the corner of Science Drive and Cameron Boulevard, Kohler said.

The committee, however, has less funds to start with than it did in previous years, he said. There was no carry-over from last year's budget and a lower amount of donations are expected this year than in years past because of the recession, Kohler noted.

Some representatives were concerned that many graduate students do not have FLEX accounts and participation in Campout would drop if this were the only payment method available. Others were concerned that the fee increase would be too much for some students to pay.

Ultimately, both resolutions---changing the registration policy and increasing the fee-posed by the Basketball Committee passed. Kohler said the fee was their best option to fix the budget this year, but the cost of registration could potentially be decreased in the future if the General Assembly gave the committee more funding, as was proposed by one GPSC representative.

"The change in the fee has been a couple of years coming with the rise in costs and extra services Campout has gotten over the past couple of years," Kohler said.

In other business:

GPSC members voted in Adam Pechtel, a second-year student in the School of Law, as the new vice president for next year. Although he has not been involved with GPSC until now, Pechtel cited his organization, communication and leadership skills as the best attributes that would help him in the position.

Pechtel ran unopposed to replace Jessi Bardill, a third-year Ph.D. candidate in English, who was elected to the position two weeks ago but had to resign last week because she received a grant that will cause her to travel often next year, said outgoing GPSC President Alethea Duncan, a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in chemistry.


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