Buffalo Untapped is an example of smart spending by the SA
Though suggestions for future, event shines a much-needed spotlight on Buffalo culture
When the Student Association spent nearly $9,000 on a new – and embarrassing – website, The Spectrum staff and much of the student body was displeased.
But SA is slated to spend $12,000 on the upcoming Buffalo Untapped event for UB undergraduates and reviews are far more positive – though there’s still room for improvement.
The event features food trucks, concessions and beer tasting, as well as music and boutiques, all from the Buffalo area.
The focus on the City of Buffalo makes the event not just a fun activity but a smart opportunity to shine a spotlight on much of what Buffalo – rather than Amherst – has to offer to undergraduates.
This festival looks like precisely the type of activity SA should be devoting its time and money toward organizing.
Its draw is broad enough to attract a wide range of students – food trucks, hot dogs, tacos and music are as close to universally appealing as it gets – and undergraduate students don’t have to pay admission.
The importance of showing students, many of whom are new to the Buffalo area, just how much the city has to offer cannot be understated and Buffalo Untapped is an effective form of demonstration.
Students deserve to be aware that there’s more within their reach than just Mighty Taco on Sweethome Road or The U on Maple – there’s also Lloyd’s Taco Truck and the Flying Bison Brewing Company, among dozens of other places to explore and enjoy.
Of course, the Flying Bison and the at least three other beer vendors might have a quieter day than the food trucks, as the majority of students attending will likely be underage.
SA chose to offer alcohol and selected a name for the event that focuses on drinking. But only a fraction of undergraduates are legally allowed to drink. The alcohol component made the underage members of the board question why their dollars were going to something they couldn’t enjoy. But most of the board who is of age felt the event is exciting and creative – even without the alcohol component.
Had the Student Association marketed the event differently, with less of a focus on the alcohol, students under 21 might be more inclined to attend the event their tuition money is helping fund.
Featuring Buffalo’s breweries also attracted the critical eye of another demographic of students – one that is composed almost entirely of 21-and-overs. Some graduate students have expressed their displeasure at the exclusiveness of the event, which is firmly limited to undergraduates.
It’s perfectly understandable that free admission is only offered to undergraduates. They pay a student activity fee to the SA each year, and it’s that money which funded the event. Graduate students’ activity fees go to the Graduate Student Association, which did not help plan or fund the event.
But it seems like the SA inviting graduate students and charging them admission would be a good move, as it would help recoup the costs of the festival. SA has said it would consider allowing graduate students to attend the event in the future and that’s something we think is imperative should this event continue. Undergraduate students aren’t the only ones who get stuck in the Amherst bubble.
But given that this is the event’s inaugural year, it’s reasonable to assume the SA had plenty of concerns to address and elements to plan out. The SA represents the undergraduate student body – there’s a reason UB also has the GSA – so graduate students simply aren’t a priority for them, and there’s no reason they should be.
Buffalo Untapped is an exciting event for undergraduates and a smart way to spend SA funds.
This event may attract a subsection of the UB community, but unlike other SA events that do the same, Buffalo Untapped will importantly showcase some of what the City of Buffalo has to offer.