UPB returns from hiatus understaffed


Elaina Sepede

Posters on wall outside of the Office of Student Life in the Davis Center Nov. 5.

Kate Germain, Culture Staff Writer

UVM’s student programming group faces staffing troubles after its year-long break from full capacity operations, said Jerome Budomo, associate director of Student Life.

The UVM Program Board paused its normal operation for the duration of the 2020-21 academic year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Nov. 10 email from UVM Spokesperson Enrique Corredera.

As they make a comeback, the student-led event planning group faces staffing shortages within UPB that strains employees, said junior Trang Do, a member of UPB’s production team.

Campus Programs is UVM’s official planning group which organizes, sponsors and hosts campus events at UVM, and UPB is a student-led branch of the department, according to their website.

Among other events, UPB hosts the weekly Pub Quiz at Brennan’s Pub in the Davis Center.

Before the pandemic, UPB organized weekly campus activities and larger campus events, such as the FallFest and SpringFest concerts.

“They [UPB] have offered weekly events to campus since the first week of classes even if many of the larger-scale programs typically held in the Fall semester, such as FallFest, have not yet made a return,” Corredera stated.

UPB decided not to hold FallFest in 2021 due to pandemic related safety concerns and low staffing levels, Budomo said. However, they do plan to host a SpringFest concert next semester.

It is difficult to recruit new student members after a year-long hiatus, Budomo said.

“It was very difficult to get people to apply because they were like ‘What is UPB? Never heard of it,’” Budomo said. “When I say we’re short staffed, I mean that we typically run at 35 [UPB members], however when we started we had about 20.”

Short-staffing has not impacted UPB’s overall operations, Budomo said.

Do joined UPB in fall 2021, she said. The organization’s understaffing has been overwhelming at times, she said.

“Productions, especially, is really understaffed,” Do said. “I was picking up a lot of shifts and I just felt so burnt out.”

It is not the responsibility of the student UPB staff members to ensure events are staffed, Do said.

“That [staffing of events] should be something the supervisors and directors work on, not me,” Do said.

UPB is not the only program group having trouble with finding new members. Campus Programs is also looking to fill vacant roles.

“Over the summer we did a search for a new Assistant Director for Campus Programs and it was not a successful search so that position has been vacant since early summer,” the email from Corredera stated. “We plan to repost the position in the coming weeks.”

Despite the effects of low staffing this semester, UPB hopes to bring fun programs to campus this spring 2022.

“They are working on some exciting larger-scale programs for the spring semester and are optimistic to be able to offer those experiences to campus,” Corredera stated.