Here at UH, student organizations are the heart of the University, creating a safe space for everyone to feel welcomed in a large community.
Among these organizations are some university-sponsored and housed by the Center for Student Involvement. What makes these organizations different from the others is being funded by student fees and have a common goal of enriching the lives of students at UH every day.
Today, we are going to take a closer look at one such student-fee-funded organization, the Student Program Board.
Created in 1985, the Student Program Board is an organization dedicated to hosting programs and events for students throughout the year, bringing everyone together in an inclusive, warm and most importantly, fun-filled environment.
“The main message of SPB is to enhance the student experience at UH by providing inclusive events that bring the University community together,” said SPB President Samantha Sadeghi. “SPB aims to cater to every student on campus, staying connected to their wants and needs while offering an opportunity to get involved in campus life and meet new people through entertaining activities.”
Let’s dive deeper to learn more about SPB, what is done on a weekly basis, what being a member is like, what it gives to the University, what goals the organization has, how its members envision the future of SPB and what makes it fun.
When asked what a normal week in the SPB organization looks like, SPB Special Events Chair Nancy Cristobal talks about how each officer takes responsibility to help plan events and check up on eah other’s progress.
“Chairs have committees that they communicate with weekly that help with planning their events and get input from,” Cristobal said. “We also try to keep in touch with all our members on GroupMe by checking up on them and updating them on upcoming events throughout the week.”
Like many other organizations, the SPB gives out volunteering opportunities to UH students since it hosts multiple events throughout each semester. Many students benefit from these volunteering opportunities as they get to work in a dynamic atmosphere and meet new people.
Heeya Paul is an example of a student who has benefitted from volunteering at the SPB.
“As a member, you get volunteering opportunities and freebies. In my experience, I volunteered at many SPB events since my sophomore year,” Paul said. “During the Commuter Cook-Out event, I helped out plenty of students to check in. There were hundreds of students – that event was packed!”
Major Events Chair Ada Martinez highlighted how the organization contributes to the university.
“We provide a wide variety of free events for students to partake in where they can branch out, get involved, meet new friends or even make long-lasting connections,” Martinez said. “For freshmen especially, it can be nerve-wracking for students to break out of their shells and meet new people.”
Martinez further added attending events at SPB is a great first step that can help people make new friends and be involved in UH organizations in the time they spend at the University.
Some of the notable events hosted by the SPB during the fall semester included the Commuter Cook-Out, Cougar Con, Movie Night, Pumpkin Palooza, the Homecoming Concert featuring Sean Kingston and Winter Wonderland. All of these events had a sizable audience and helped students take a break from their rigorous schedules.
Everyone likes to feel a sense of belonging when they join a new community. The fact that students get to be a part of student-led events and work in an involved environment is what makes SPB a fun organization for students to join. Considering the diversity of events hosted by SPB, there is something for everyone and is also a unique opportunity to make lifelong connections.
“The number of fun interactions makes SPB fun to join for students; through all the events, students leave their comfort zones and be a part of the variety of events that SPB hosts,” said Cinema Chair Faiza Murtaza. “When I joined as a student, what attracted me to SPB was the welcoming and involved feeling I would get when I was a regular officer.”
Based on the current success of the events hosted by the SPB, it is no surprise to predict the future of the organization looks brilliant and bright.
Vice President of Membership Catherine Cedillo-Moreno shared her idea of SPB’s future and her vision for the organization in the years to come.
“In the future, I hope SPB’s membership increases tenfold, and students will be able to join the organization and know that they will gain event planning skills,” Cedillo-Moreno said. “From there I hope to see members become officers and ensure that they maintain a welcoming environment for all students who are looking for a community.”
This is directly aligned with the goals of the organization as a whole, which is to cultivate an environment where students can meet new people and make long-lasting memories.
Speaking of how the future looks like for the SPB, here are some of the upcoming events being held by the organization that you certainly want to keep an eye out for:
MLK Movie Night, January 25th from 7 – 10 PM in the SC South Theater
Cat Cafe, January 30th from 4 – 6 PM in the Ballroom
Stuff-A-Bear, February 15th time TBD in the Houston Room
Besides these events, there is also going to be ‘SPB Week’ from Feb. 12-16, so stay tuned for an announcement on a week’s worth of SPB events!