hw feeUCSB Health & Wellness Program is requesting a lock-in fee of $7.13 per quarter for undergraduate and graduate students to support their services including Dog Therapy Day, free massages and HIV testing and educational sessions on healthy eating, sex, relationships and positive psychology.

Health & Wellness services are utilized by over 90 percent of UCSB students and seek to cultivate healthy learning environments on campus for students to foster an optimal state of mental, physical and emotional well-being, according to Health & Wellness Acting Director Mark Shishim. Should the initiative fail, Health & Wellness will be forced to reduce its funding and eliminate some of its staff and services.

Shishim said Health & Wellness has never needed to request funds in the past but must do so now due to budget cuts made to the program.

“The funding is so we don’t have to cut anymore services that students love and to save our program — we have never asked for a lock-in before,” Shishim said. “If approved, we will be able to retain our current staffing levels and programs and services. If the bill doesn’t pass, there will be budget cuts looming and a loss of staff and layoffs… We will lose at least two of our six staff and be forced to make hard decisions about which services and programs to cut. Our program will look very different.”

The proposed lock-in fee constitutes one of three new fees subject to student vote on the Campus Election Commission’s ballot along with a measure to support the Women Gender & Sexual Equity department and a measure to renovate certain campus recreation facilities. Affirmation of the requested fee will allow the program to continue providing its resources, from its larger events and programs to its provision of smaller items such as free organic apples, condoms and water.

According to Shishim, no new programs will be offered next year if the bill does not pass. He said this will also affect the amount of student internships and volunteer opportunities.

“A large portion of our work is devoted to intern development, and our interns host three to four events per quarter,” Shishim said.


Photo Courtesy of wellness.sa.ucsb.edu

 A version of this article appeared on page 10 of the April 18th, 2013’s print edition of the Nexus