SGA hopes to bring a bigger name to campus, might charge students to do so
By Sarah Stubbs
Despite hopes that this would be an annual event, The University of Findlay’s Student Government Association will not be hosting a spring concert this semester due to low turnout at the last two years’ events, according to Nick Thompson, SGA president.
In the spring of 2014, SGA hosted the Plain White T’s and attracted 2,097 students. Last spring, Ben Rector and Parachute played for 1,200 students. The Koehler Fitness and Recreation Complex (FRC), where the last two SGA concerts have been held, has a maximum occupancy of 5,000.
“It was disappointing for us because we really wanted a lot of students to attend,” Thompson said. “So, we took this year off to kind of save some money.”
SGA’s budget is funded by the $100 student activities fee that is tacked onto tuition each semester. According to Dave Emsweller, vice president of student affairs, SGA has about $120,000 – $125,000 to work with each semester.
Last semester SGA allocated a total of $120,211.12 to UF clubs and organizations for on-campus events. As of Feb. 7, SGA has $128,382 in its account.
Thompson said that SGA has been using student activity money in different ways this semester, like supporting more club events and donating to the AMU renovation project that will be taking place this summer.
“Hypothetically, the goal is to spend every penny each semester so then you’re using your students’ money,” Thompson said. “So yes, there’s been some roll-over, after a year we put it in a contingency fund which is basically like a savings.”
According to Thompson, SGA is in the early stages of planning a concert for the 2016-2017 academic year.
Kayla Prater, senior class president, said that this extra time will allow for a bigger and better concert.
“We’re looking into almost doubling our budget for next year,” Prater said.
SGA is still deciding whether next year’s concert will be held in the fall or spring. Thompson and Prater both noted that a fall concert might yield a higher turnout because the weather is nicer and students are typically more energized.
“Even though it’s not happening this year, we want to make an announcement by the end of the semester. So everyone will be talking about it, the buzz will be there, everyone will be pumped about it and telling their friends,” Thompson said.
Thompson said that SGA’s goal for the upcoming concert is to fill the FRC entirely.
“I want full attendance – 5,000 people. Community and everyone. I want it to be a really worth-while concert. So that probably means we could go for a bigger name,” Thompson said.
Thompson said that since the last two concerts have been alternative rock groups and have resulted in low attendance, SGA is looking at other options. Top-40 and country are two genres that are on the table.
According to SGA officials, choosing the right genre isn’t as important as landing a big name.
“No genre of music is completely out. That is one of the reasons a lot of people thought we had low attendance. We had more people at Plain White T’s because they were more well-known,” Prater said.
The more popular the artist, the higher the price. That is why SGA is considering charging students for tickets.
Emsweller has experience in coordinating concerts on college campuses at his previous job at Michigan State. He said that in order to get an act that has name recognition, students have to be charged.
Emsweller added that charging students a ticket price would also help ensure that SGA has adequate funds to support other clubs and programs.
“If you want to fill the place, then getting a bigger name and charging a smaller amount is probably the better way to go. Most universities charge students some type of price,” Emsweller said. “Concerts nowadays are so expensive. If we only have to charge students $10 to $20, I think they would pay that for someone who is really popular.”
The bigger the university the higher the budget it has to work with. State schools like Ohio State and Bowling Green have concerts throughout the academic year and often bring big names to their campuses. Last fall OSU hosted Young Thug, Panic! At the Disco, and Timeflies. BGSU hosted Nick Jonas last March.
None of these events were free for students.
According to Emsweller, an act that could draw a large crowd will cost at least $100,000.
“That’s the only way we could do a really big act. We would have to charge something. SGA couldn’t afford to allocate those kinds of funds,” Emsweller said.
Last year’s Ben Rector and Parachute show cost at least $70,000, according to Emsweller.
“If you went to $100,000 you could’ve gotten someone like Fall Out Boy or One Republic. Those names probably would’ve drawn more,” Emsweller said.
These are just examples, according to Emsweller, and Fall Out Boy’s price has nearly doubled since last year, but he says that both of these bands fit the “middle-of-the-road” genre and name recognition that SGA is striving for.
SGA’s executive board has compiled a list of potential acts and Emsweller is submitting that list to the University’s promoter to see if any of them are within its price-range and are available on the tentative dates.
With the seasonal debate, Emsweller falls on the autumn end.
“I think a fall concert is a good idea. It would be kind of neat to start the year out with a concert that was pretty big. It would be nice to get to a point where we had a fall and a spring concert. Money is the issue, as it always is.”
Even though Thompson is graduating this spring, he’s taking it upon himself to plan a successful event for Oiler Nation before he leaves.
“It’s exciting. I’m very motivated to bring someone who will excite the campus. I’ll feel like I would’ve failed if we bring someone and the attendance still hasn’t increased,” Thompson said.