Welcome Week concert moves indoors

In their latest board of directors meeting, Feds unanimously passed and approved a $65,000 budget for this fall’s Welcome Week.

The budget will focus on “go big or go home events,” said Prashant Kumar Patel, Feds interim special events co-ordinator, during his presentation to Feds board members. Feds plans to eliminate many of the smaller events held in past years.

During the meeting, it was revealed that the Welcome Week concert, traditionally held outside on the BMH green, will be moved into the PAC gym. Patel said that holding the show outside is a “huge gamble” due to the unpredictability of the weather, which can affect attendance.

Another reason for the move is to cut costs on security, clean up, and renting portable toilets. Those savings will be reallocated toward trying to attain better talent for the show. This year, Feds allotted $45,000 of the Welcome Week budget to the concert.

The list of possible performers include Carly Rae Jepsen, Kardinal Offishall, Classified, and Down with Webster. The list was composed through an online poll, in which, according to Kumar, 600 students responded.

Though the concert will be free to students, those planning to attend will have to RSVP and obtain a ticket  so that Feds can collect “concrete metrics” for future planning. Since it will be held indoors, there will be a maximum attendance capacity of 4,500 people, which Patel is confident will not be surpassed based on past attendance.

This year’s budget commits $5,000 more in spending than last year’s budget of $60,000. However, with the elimination of small events that only attract 100 to 200 students, money previously spent on those events will be reallocated to bigger events. For example the Warrior Carnival’s funding will be increased by $7,000 from last year’s $3,000 budget.  They hope to attract approximately 4,000 people to the event.

Feds is also seeking sponsorships in order to increase the Welcome Week budget by $25,500 for a total budget of $90,500. Last year, Patel said Feds obtained an insignificant amount of money in corporate sponsorships for all three of the year’s Welcome Weeks. Due to the low amount, the entire Fall 2013 Welcome Week budget came exclusively from Feds.

 “I’ve shaken up our sponsorship efforts this year, rebranded our sponsors, and created a strong strategy to go out and tell our local businesses that you’re not sponsoring a little event for 100 students, this is going to be in the thousands of students, large community events,” Patel said.

Patel is confident that his rebranded and risk-taking approach can attract those sponsorship dollars to improve the success of fall Welcome Week.

“I specialize in bringing in sponsors,” Patel said. “I’ve only been on the job for two weeks and we’ve already got $10,000 in sponsorship money committed on paper, and another $20,000 in the works. So we’re pretty confident we’re going to bring the numbers in.”

Despite his confidence, Patel assured the board that even if they don’t hit their sponsorship quota by August 8, no events will be cut.

Kumar explicitly advised the board that this was not a year Feds should look to cut Welcome Week funding.

“This year, I’ve told [potential sponsors,] we’re ready to invest if you’re ready to invest. Truly sell them that this is a large-scale event so that they see opportunity,” Patel said. “We have to fulfill on our [Feds] investments so that our sponsors do, too.  Our students will come out and our sponsors will come back next year,” he said.

Initially the board presented a motion to vote on approving both the fall and winter Welcome Week budgets together. The motion was to approve $82,000 — $65,000 for fall and $17,000 for winter — all in one package, but it was later determined to set up a separate meeting to approve winter’s Welcome Week budget at an undetermined time.


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