At last Tuesday’s Legislative Body meeting, Student Chair of Program Board (PB) Blaise Yokoyama ’16 presented the expenses of the committee’s events thus far in the year.
According to the spreadsheet he presented at the meeting, the total budget for this semester is $63,346.50. Starting with “Kickback @ Kirk” on Sept. 1, and ending with the apple picking event at Afton Apple Orchard on Oct. 17, the total cost so far has been $14,384, with an average cost for each event of $5.52 per person. Upon this article’s publication, PB’s budget report showed that there was $44,401.33 remaining for this semester.
PB is funded entirely by the student activity fee, so enrollment determines its budget each year. Joan Maze said in an interview that 2,011 students were charged the activity fee this fall semester; students on study away are not charged. In a later email, Maze added that $39.50 of the fee, which is $121 in the fall and $100 in the spring, goes directly to this semester’s PB budget. PB will collect the same amount in the spring.
At the end of this academic year, if any money is left over from student accounts or the operating budgets, it is considered “rollover money,” as Maze explained in an email. Twenty-five percent of this money goes to PB.
This year, there was no rollover money. Earlier this semester, there was confusion as to what this year’s rollover actually was.
“Last year we had budgeted out $8,000 for this year’s Winter Ball,” Yokoyama said. “And we thought the way budget things were happening is that it was being taken out of last year’s budget instead of this year’s budget.”
“[PB] got access to the system to view the account and didn’t understand what the account was saying, so it looked like they had less money than they actually did,” Maze said.
Recently, there have been some questions on campus about whether the cost of PB’s movie screenings is feasible. PB has a contract with a film rights company, Swank, which charges $600 to $800 per screening, sometimes for a very small turnout. In the case of the screening of Avengers: Age of Ultron on Sept. 16, twenty-five students were present and the cost per person was $35, according to the MCSG budget report.
When questioned about the high cost of screenings, Yokoyama expressed a desire to accommodate students who may want or need that social space on weekends.
“Kagins are certainly less expensive and catered to a very specific kind of audience,” he said. “Whereas if you’re a student that doesn’t want to go to a space like Kagin and there doesn’t appear to be a Campus Activities event that night, you can just stay in your room and study. But we want to create those kinds of spaces for people. And even if that is somewhat costly, I think it’s important to make sure that students have that space—that we are catering to all kinds of students possible in the best kind of space possible.”
Recent events for PB include the campus center Halloween party on Friday, Oct. 30; a screening of Sinister 2 on Halloween; the fall concert in the Loch on Nov. 2 featuring artists Swing, Bad Bad Hats, and Tony Peachka; and a hypnotist’s performance in Kagin on Nov. 4. The haunted house that is normally part of the Campus Center party was cancelled, as was the annual trip to Valley Scare.