By Joe Pinter, News Editor, @JPinter93
ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. (March 11) – Rob DeFazio, director of the Centerfor Activities, Recreation and Leadership (CARL), spoke to Student Government Association-chartered clubs today about the Campus Activities Board (CAB)’s recent decision to not host a spring concert this year.
Many factors contributed to the ultimate decision, but none more crucial than the bottom line, said DeFazio, who is also the SGA budget officer.
CAB has lost, at minimum, $11,000 on recent concerts. And when Bonaventure hosted an up-and-coming Mike Posner in 2011, CAB lost more than $22,000. After seeing these numbers, one may wonder why it took even this long to come to this decision.
After Posner, Bonaventure tried scheduling Gym Class Heroes. However, the amount of money they asked for was too much. CAB came very close to scheduling the Goo Goo Dolls twice in the last two years, but the group had scheduling conflicts and could not make it work.
The low ticket sales last year prompted CAB to try and cancel the concert, but Breathe Carolina and The Ready Set did not agree to this.
Bonaventure has not always had a spring concert, however.
Before the current senior class enrolled at Bonaventure, the school went through a five-year stretch without any spring concert. But the student body heard of other campuses’ successful concerts and wanted to have one of their own, so CAB decided to plan for a concert every spring.
Though the concerts have been losing money, most have been extremely popular, said DeFazio. Sean Kingston played in front of a crowd of 2,600 a few years ago. But CAB still lost thousands of dollars. Even though, according to DeFazio, it costs around $20,000 to pay for the artist, CAB still has to pay for the workers at the Reilly Center to set up and tear down the set on the basketball court and pay many other fees such as transportation and security.
These costs, coupled with the smaller budget CAB had to work with for this year, led to the decision to not host a concert in 2013. CAB’s budget comes directly from the student activities fee, which is $965. Even though overall tuition has increased 3% from last year, the student activities fee has stayed the same over the past few years. And since the enrollment numbers were lower this year, CAB did not have a very large budget. How the student activities fee is divided up:
*SGA 25% (funds smaller academic clubs)
*The Buzz 10%
*The Bona Venture 9%
DeFazio said that since money is taken out of the overall student activities fund for other costs such as the Bona Bus, athletics and the Richter Center, it is difficult to give a concrete number to each percentage. The only hard number, he said, is the amount of money students are willing to pay for a concert ticket. Every time CAB polls the student body, the consensus is that students will only pay $10 or less for a ticket.
However, $10 per student does not cover the costs. DeFazio said even if every undergraduate student attended the concert (roughly 1,700), and paid $10 for a ticket, there is still a $3,000 gap for CAB to cover just to pay for the artist, without even considering the other aforementioned costs. Even if $10,000 were put aside every year for the next four years for a concert, that money alone would still not cover the concert, said DeFazio.
The decision for this year came down to either cutting programming throughout the year in order to afford a concert, or instead plan more trips and events throughout the year to make up for the loss of the concert, said DeFazio.
DeFazio said this decision is by no means the end of spring concerts at Bonaventure. He said CAB will have its regular concert discussion every year in the future. Some years it may be able to host a concert and some years it may not. He said the spring concert is a year-to-year decision that will have to be made.
If the student activities fee is raised in accordance to the tuition hike, CAB would most likely have the necessary funding for a concert. A likely choice for the performance would be either a rock or country group because of the popularity in the area of those genres, said DeFazio.
In the meantime, CAB is planning more bus trips and activities throughout the year. He mentioned a possibility of having one big event every month to make up for the lack of a concert. Also, he said CAB is exploring the possibility of having a bus trip to nearby schools for their concerts if CAB indeed cannot host one itself.
Steve Kuchera, assistant director of CARL, said CAB runs meetings throughout the year and students are encouraged to attend and bring ideas. In addition, CAB is attending a conference that runs from March 22-March 23 about possible events. Students will be asked to vote on the events after the conference.