By Ryan Semerad
Students will have to wait until Springfest to enjoy another concert at Union as the Concert Committee has already extinguished its financial resources for the academic year. Last term, the Committee spent a significant amount of its budget on a performance by Passion Pit, which over half of the student body attended. According to Student Forum Vice President of Finance Dan Moldwin ‘12, Concert Committee was allocated $55,000 for this school year and has spent $78,686.21. The additional funding for the performance came from revenue-raising efforts by the Committee. Despite students’ wishes for an increased number of large concerts this year, it appears they will have to be satisfied with one large event outside of Springfest.
“My perspective is—whether an act is good or not—if you can pull in half the student body for one concert you’re doing well,” said Director of Student Activities Matt Milless. “When I started in 2000, there were no major concerts [like the Passion Pit performance] on campus.”
Historically, Union’s Concert Committee has only been allocated enough funding to hold one major event annually. Last year, the Committee held two concerts: Kid Cudi, a widely-attended concert, and The Books, who entertained a much smaller audience. Students’ responses to the committee’s use of its funds range from disappointment to outrage.
“I think it’s extremely irresponsible to spend all [their] money on one concert the first term,” said Kyle Lanzit ‘13.
Other students echoed Lanzit’s anger. “They definitely could’ve managed their money better,” said Alex Porter ‘12.
Still other students felt less upset by the committee’s money-management and more perturbed by their choice of performers. “They should have taken a poll of the student body to see what they wanted,” said Emily Pettengil ‘14.
“We don’t have the staff to support multiple large concerts. Each one is brutal on the staff we have.”
Matt Milless, Director of Student Activities
Nevertheless, some students felt more optimistic about the situation. “I’m sure they could make it work and have more concerts,” said Kelly Peterson ‘11. “Maybe they could pool money from other clubs.”
Looking ahead, funding is not the only obstacle preventing more large events from coming to Union.
Milless said the problem is maintaining student safety and having the proper number of officials to support each event.
“We don’t have the staff to support multiple large concerts,” he said. “Each one is brutal on the staff we have.” Furthermore, many more popular musical acts simply will not perform at a venue as small as Union.
The college administration’s stance with regard to having large concerts on campus each year is that, in addition to the aforementioned reasons, it is unrealistic based on several other factors as well.
One issue is that the Concert Committee’s budget comes from an activity fee that is included in tuition; the size of the student body restricts the amount of funds that can be allocated to each student club. Another major issue that contributes to this viewpoint is that campus facilities are not designed to host several large events.