Students lined up to grab Spring Gala tickets as early as 7:30 a.m. Monday, despite tickets going on sale at 10 a.m. Some students waited over four hours before tickets sold out by 3 p.m., but hundreds were left empty-handed.
As of Wednesday, Student Association sold 689 tickets to the general student body and 24 tickets to SA staff members, according to Lorenzo Guzman, general service manager for the SBI ticket office. The final Spring Gala ticket price for students was $30, a guest ticket $44 and SA employees $5.50. Students were allowed to buy two guest tickets. Tickets are currently sold out, according to SA President Leslie Veloz.
“SA is doing what they can to increase the amount of tickets available, but as of right now they are sold out,” Veloz said.
The SBI ticket office does not have information regarding how many tickets were made available, but Guzman said Winter and Spring Gala usually fit about 800 to 850 people.
“The size and availability of different rooms for the venue determines how many tickets we actively put on sale,” Guzman said.
SA is waiting until the timeframe expires for staff members to claim their Spring Gala ticket. Any unclaimed tickets after that will be made available to anybody, according to Guzman.
If this happens, SA will send out a notification on social media, and the tickets would be available for purchase the next day.
Joseph Ramos, a junior exercise science major, waited in Diefendorf Hall. Ramos said he waited for over an hour before someone told him tickets were sold out.
“The line was not terribly long, but there was only one person trying to take care of 40-plus people, so the process took forever,” Ramos said. “I was in disbelief at the disorganization displayed, and I don’t understand why they could not do a simple count of people in line to see if they had enough tickets for everyone instead of wasting their time and making me miss class.”
Guzman said the proccess was not the ideal way for students to obtain their Spring Gala ticket, but he is working with SA to change the policy and satisfy the general public.
“I already spoke with SA about making an online reservation for gala tickets just like we do for Spring and Fall Fest, and we are willing to move in that direction,” Guzman said.
“We are here for the students, and the primary goal is to reduce the wait times. So, we are trying to figure out different methods, but we have to follow the ticket industry-standard rules, because we are a ticket office.”
Veloz said SA has considered getting a larger venue, but it is difficult to find spaces in Buffalo to accommodate students with “quality food and services.”
“This is the fastest gala tickets have ever sold,’’ Veloz said. “I think interest in gala has peaked this year compared to previous years, especially because of all the promotion SA has been giving to SA events and the addition of announcements in the student wide emails.”
Other students had ideas regarding how tickets should be distributed to the general public to make the process less stressful.
Jessie Caprino, a senior biological sciences major, said there should be more places on campus to get tickets and more than oneperson should be selling the tickets.
“Seniors should have the opportunity to receive tickets first because it is their last opportunity to go and it is not fair that freshmen get tickets before them, especially when they are under 21,” Caprino said. “They should also have more staff to watch the line if they are going to allow so many people to wait, because people are obviously going to cut.”
There is one transaction register on South Campus located in Diefendorf Hall and two in the Student Union ticket office, but they are not independent of each other and take from the same pool of tickets, according to Guzman.
“For us to invest more money to sell through Ticketmaster or obtain more registers would be a waste of student money because Spring and Winter Gala is the only time of the year when the lines are like they were Monday,” Guzman said. “I don’t think students want to spend $8,000 for registers that would be used twice a year.”
Anthony Malloni, a senior Spanish major, is hopeful gala tickets will be available online in the future.
“I don’t understand why gala is one of the only major events at UB where you cannot get tickets online,” Malloni said. “It is extremely difficult waiting in line for hours when people have classes or other obligations, so you should be able to reserve your tickets online and pick them up.”
Erik Tingue is the features editor and can be reached at email@example.com @TingueErik