Student Life Fee funds Wood Center services, annual traditions

Sarah Bressler/Sun Star Reporter
April 17, 2012

In the center of the UAF campus the Wood Center serves as a study lounge, office space, restaurant, and gathering place for students and general Fairbanks public. Michelle Strehl/ Sun Star

Every day, a stream of students flows through the University of Alaska Fairbanks student union building, the Wood Center. They pause for a bite to eat, a game of pool, or a meeting with a friend, then travel onward to the next part of the day. Madeline Arima is one of the few who stay.

Arima, a student desk attendant at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Wood Center, is in charge of answering and transferring calls. She provides general information about the Wood Center and UAF.

“It is important to understand that there are a lot of resources here in the Wood Center,” Arima said, “If you want to do something on campus or find something to do, this is a great place to be.”

To provide those resources, the university charges every student taking nine or more credits a $25 fee. 

The Wood Center Student Life Fee started in the ’04 – ’05 school year. At this time, the fee was $5 per semester for every student taking more than nine credits at the main campus or the Community and Technical College. Later that year, the fee doubled to $10.

Over the years, the fee has steadily risen. In 2006 it was changed  to $20 and in 2009 to $25. Today, the fee remains $25 per semester per student. The fee originally paid for the activities in the Wood Center, as well as UAF traditions such as Starvation Gulch.

From lounging around to bowling, to playing pool or ping pong, the Wood Center offers a variety of activities to appeal to the interest of many UAF students. It costs $3 per game to bowl, $3.60 an hour to play pool, and $1 for two hours of ping pong.

“It’s fun to go bowling with a a group of friends, especially in the winter when it is too cold to go do anything outside,” freshman Isaac Cryer said.

While the student life fee does not pay the wages and salaries of employees such as Arima, the fee covers events and utilities.

The fee generates about $150,000 each year. The fee pays for many of the popular events in the Wood Center and on campus. For example, the fee covers the university’s annual staples such as Starvation Gulch, Nanook Traditions, International Education Week, and Spring Fest. The fee also pays for the cost of keeping furniture, pool tables, the bowling alley and the dining area up-to-par. The fee does not go towards anyone’s salary and is almost never used for events that take place in The Pub, according to Wood Center Director Lydia Anderson.

The UAF Wood Center student life fee is lower than the student life fee at UAA. All UAA students taking six or more credits pay a minimum of $120 dollars to a maximum of $240 depending on the student’s credit load. However, the UAA fee,  also pays for other programs such as school athletics and student-run organizations, whereas UAF has separate fees for these categories.

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