When I ran for the position of Director of Events for the University of Victoria Students’ Society (UVSS), I knew the long hours and small events budget would be a challenge. However, I had no idea just how difficult working with such a minimal budget would be. I managed to co-ordinate bands and DJs in Felicita’s, put bands on the roof of the SUB, host the Student Union Building fair, plan Campus Kick Off, and throw an all-ages Halloween party in Vertigo—despite these constraints. Although I’m proud of my accomplishments, I am keenly aware of the lack of big name acts on campus. When students attend Events Committee and suggest booking a big name act similar to other student societies, I always have to turn them down, because we simply don’t have the money.
Campus events at the University of Victoria (UVic) just can’t compete with other universities in Canada. Students who come to UVic expect the quality of events to be as exceptional as they are at many other campuses across the country. The UVSS has one of the lowest events fees for student societies in Canada, and because of this, we are unable to offer high-quality entertainment. This is why I asked the UVSS Board of Directors to pose a referendum question to undergraduate students asking to increase the events fee by $1 (part-time students) or $2 (full-time students).
When I look at the types of events other student societies across the country are able to hold, I feel frustrated and embarrassed that I am unable to offer students more. For example, Kid Cudi performed at the University of British Columbia (UBC), and Passion Pit at Algonquin College. I use our budget as best as I can—the events I’ve listed above speak to that. But I could do so much more with just a dollar or two more per semester from each student.
Augmenting the events budget by $2 will benefit all UVic students by fostering a more dynamic and lively campus community. Imagine a comedian or famous speaker you would like to see. Now imagine getting to see them on campus with your friends. We have the potential; we just need the means to get there. I would love to bring together diverse groups on campus. This would establish a culture of student life that UVic students deserve. It would distinguish our school identity from other universities and colleges across the country. The Camosun College Student Society has double our events budget and only half the number of students. We lack the capability to compete with smaller, local student societies such as Camosun’s, let alone student societies at UBC, Simon Fraser University, or the University of Alberta.
The same amount of money you spend on a coffee could double our budget. On November 27th, 2013, a referendum will be held asking UVic’s student body if they support increasing the special events fee by $2 per semester for full-time students and $1 per semester for part-time students. Please vote yes. You have the ability to change how many awesome bands, artists, speakers, and comedians we can bring to campus. At the annual Canadian Organization of Campus Activities conference this past May, I was placed in the same group as small colleges. I literally had to sit at the little kids’ table. Vote yes to help me upgrade the UVSS’s seat, and reinvigorate our campus culture.