StuGov cuts LAF concert budget

By Brad Bormann ’14

Funding for Lafayette Activities Forum (LAF) annual spring concert was cut by $20,000 this year after Student Government, which regularly distributes the necessary funds for the event, encountered unexpected and compulsory costs and was unable to provide the requested sum of money.

Representatives from LAF approached Student Government at a meeting in late September with a request for $75,000 to hire the headline band for the spring concert.

“This requested allocation was $25,000 more than what has been given in the past. And through discussion, Student Government decided to give LAF $60,000, which is $10,000 more than in the past, and still helps LAF achieve their goals of a successful Spring Concert,” said former Student Government President Matt Grandon ’12.

“But during the semester, [Student Government was] hit with several costs it had to cover. For example, transportation costs were increasing,” Grandon said. “A lot of organizations were requesting more transportation, which is good, that’s why [Student Government] is there, to cover the cost. If more clubs use these resources, though, our money has to go towards that. We have the responsibility to the clubs and organizations we oversee to make sure they have money to carry through the year.”

As the fall semester drew to a close, Student Government realized that to sustain the numerous clubs it oversaw, it had to withdraw some of the funds previously dedicated to LAF’s spring concert.

“We realized that we were not going to have the amount of money to help all the clubs and organizations that we want to help if we gave all of this money to one single organization. After having discussions with LAF, it was not an easy decision, but we decided to reduce the Spring Concert allocation to $40,000. We needed the $20,000 for other clubs and initiatives, even though it was providing a tremendous concert,” Grandon said.

LAF and Student Government work closely year-round to produce some of the biggest events on campus. Executive Chair of LAF Ellen Hughes said, “[LAF’s] main focus is event planning for the entire student body.”

Hughes sits at the helm of a team of two-person co-chairs, dedicated to event planning in different sectors of the Lafayette community. For example, the Gilberts co-chair organizes poetry-readings and open-mic nights in the popular student café, while the Issues and Cultures co-chairs bring in a variety of different speakers and also handle Sex Week.

LAF is entrusted by Student Government with substantial funds to help orchestrate the most prominent and highly-anticipated student events. An open, healthy dialogue is maintained between LAF and Student Government year-round to ensure the success of these events.

“LAF was definitely not happy with the decision at first, but in retrospect, the rationale they were given did make a lot of sense,” Assistant Director of Student Life Programs and advisor to LAF Robert Dustin said. “Plus, the withdrawal of that funding didn’t really alter the process too much (besides making LAF focus on slightly less expensive performers.)”

The $20,000 budget cut was the product of a series of unfortunate events. Both LAF and Student Government were frustrated by the mutual loss, but their relationship, as well as plans for the Spring Concert, remains as solid as ever.

“We start planning in September, and the concert is in April,” Hughes said. “We go through an agent and see what bands are in our price range. The money Student Government allocates us is strictly for bands, we use profits from last year to pay for the lights and stage. In the end, it’s a couple hundred-thousand dollar day. As for this year, we have the band booked, and it’s going to be a great concert.”

Update: As of press time, all student organizations had received an email informing them that “unanticipated expenses over the course of the fall semester have left [the] budget committee with considerably less funds available than were originally expected for the spring semester.”