UU Concerts looks for acts
When the Grammy Awards air on CBS Sunday night, there will be an astonishing presence of music artists who have performed at universities in Central New York in the past three years. Among them are Gwen Stefani, Green Day and Kanye West, who together have 19 Grammy nominations and three separate performances.
The three artists mentioned above, along with 50 Cent, Brand New, Incubus, Mos Def, Dashboard Confessional, Nas, the Roots, Counting Crows and Stone Temple Pilots have all appeared at either Binghamton University or Cornell University in the past three years.
At SU, the budget for University Union concerts is not set yearly, like Cornell and Binghamton, but rather each semester. Sherlen Archibald, co-chair of UU Concerts, said this hinders their ability to place a bid for an artist.
‘The other schools are six months ahead of us,’ he said. ‘We only have a month or 2 months (to plan). They have more time and more money.’
‘UU is not a recognized operating organization on campus,’ said Andrew Urankar, comptroller. ‘These organizations are those that need money to keep their lights on.’
While organizations like Z89 and WAER have this status and receive their funding in August of each school year, Archibald said UU Concerts needs to gain status as an operating organization to compete with schools like Binghamton University and Cornell for top name artists.
‘If you go to the main offices in the Carrier Dome, there are pictures of all the past concerts that were here. It’s ridiculous that it has come to this,’ said Rich Pedine, former executive director of University Union Concerts. ‘The student activity fee is not a good formula for a school of this caliber to put on a big show. It’s sad we don’t take advantage of (our prestige). This school revolves around popular culture because of all the programs we have. If we were able to bring big shows here, it would serve as a valid educational experience.’
While Cornell is comparative to SU in both number of students and tuition (Cornell: 13,577 students, $40,000 tuition, SU: 10,840 students, $36,694 tuition), BU is a state school and, though they have a comparative number of students (10,428), their tuition is only $13,459.
Jason Kupperman, BU’s student association’s vice president of university programming, said that the University Programming Committee gets their budget in August and this allows them to start planning events for the whole year upon their return to school.
‘We started working on getting Green Day in November and didn’t get confirmation until Friday (February 3) for a concert in May’ Kupperman said.
At Cornell University, Marcy Saltz, Cornell concert commission’s executive director, said Cornell gets their programming funding at the beginning of each school year and said it is important to book artists in advance.
‘We usually place a bid two to three months in advance and don’t hear back until a month and a half before,’ Saltz said.
All three schools fund their concerts through their student activity fee. The student activity fees of all three universities range from BU’s $45 to Cornell’s $88 to the $144.50 fee at SU.
While plans to get that yearly funding have not been made public, in the past UU Concerts has exhausted all other options.
‘We put all our energy behind sponsorship. If we can’t get the money from the school, we needed to get it elsewhere. We had meetings with Clear Channel,’ Pedine said. ‘We chose to go that route, rather than the bureaucratic route of SA.’
Also, BU does not charge student organizations to use their new 10,000-person Binghamton Events Center. Saltz said she wasn’t sure if students pay to hold their concerts on campus.
Adam Gorode, co-chair of UU Concerts, said SU charges thousands of dollars to hold an event in Goldstein and in addition student organizations must rent all equipment needed for an event.
In addition to the timing of the money, another issue is the amount of money given. At BU, the concerts are planned through the Student Association, not through a separate organization, and Kupperman said this removes the bureaucracy to get funding. At SU, the process to receive funding from SA follows the format where each organization submits a proposal for funding and the Finance Board gives out funds to those organizations it sees fit.
The university, in addition for the high fees to hold a concert on campus, offers no financial help whatsoever in the attempt to bring big name concerts to the hill.
He also said if the university picked up some of the costs for the first show of the year, UU Concerts would be able to fund shows for the remainder of the semester with revenue.
‘The lack of funding here is a shortcoming of the university not caring’ Pedine said.
Thomas Wolfe is leaving his position as senior vice president and dean of student affairs to become the new president of Iliff School of Theology… Read more »
UPDATED: MAY 15, 4:35 p.m. Syracuse University students will soon see new living options in downtown Syracuse, after a new construction company revamps a vacant… Read more »
THEY'RE BACK: Syracuse pulls off furious comeback win against Yale to return to final four after longest absence since 1979
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Brian Megill sprinted over to Dominic Lamolinara and catapulted into his arms. The game was over. The unthinkable was no longer… Read more »