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Saturday, December 02, 2023
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What has the Student Association spent its $4.6 million budget on?

Spirit Week, Winter Gala bring out students, cost SA thousands

Students packed Alumni Arena in 2019 for Spring Fest, an annual Student Association music event.
Students packed Alumni Arena in 2019 for Spring Fest, an annual Student Association music event.

Every semester, UB’s more than 20,000 undergrads pay a $109 “student activity fee” that goes straight to the Student Association.

The fee helps fund extracurricular activities, student events like Fall and Spring Fest and finances necessary SA — UB’s undergraduate student government — services like legal fees. There are roughly 21,467 undergraduate students enrolled at UB; the SA has an annual budget of approximately $4,679,806.

In the fall, SA held several events from psychic fairs to Winter Gala, which comprised a total of $239,831.70 — 5% of the budget — according to the SA’s General Ledger

SA chief of staff Will Eaton said in an email to The Spectrum approximately 7,391 students — 34.5% of undergrads — have attended SA events in the fall and early spring semester. 

Eaton says student attendance counts for outdoor events may be slightly inaccurate because “restricting [outdoor] access points is much more difficult” than restricting indoor access points. But SA does its best to comply with UB’s rules, Eaton says.

Eaton says the SA relies on different mediums — Instagram, email, flyers — to advertise upcoming events to the student body. 

Here’s a list of some of the best-attended events from the last semester-plus:

  • SA’s Annual Spirit Week reached 4,288 students, making it the organization’s most popular event. The week’s events included a car smash, a wing-eating contest and a mechanical bull ride, all of which culminated in SA’s Homecoming Carnival. The weeklong affair cost $124,183.31.
  • Eight hundred fifty-eight students attended Halloween programming. The events included pumpkin painting, a costume contest, a Halloween piñata and a psychic fair. The total cost of the Halloween event series was $9,338.59, with the psychic fair costing $8,198.59 of the total. 
  • Labor Day weekend events brought out 690 students for laser lights shows, blacklight roller skating and a showing of “A Quiet Place II.” The weekend cost the SA $31,155.70.
  • SA hosted a succulent painting and games program in December for 539 students.These students received free succulents and had the opportunity to play SA-provided board games. The program cost $1,631.08.
  • SA’s annual Winter Gala marked its return from the pandemic in December with 320 students attending. The gala cost $33,699.75. The SA gained $7,100 in ticket sales.
  • SA sponsored a Ring of Fire program during Welcome Weekend where multiple bonfires were set around campus and students were provided with snacks. SA brought out 308 students and spent $667.19 on the event.
  • A Valentine’s Day card-making event attracted 195 students and ran the SA $1,258.39 on card-making materials and flowers.
  • SA hosted a psychic night in November which cost $7,842.96 to host. One hundred ninety-three students attended the program.

The undergraduate student activity fee has increased $4.25 since 2019. Last year, students initially voted to make the fee voluntary, before electing to make it mandatory during a referendum held during the SA e-board election.

SA President Nicholas Singh announced in mid-February that Spring Fest will have three shows this semester — a first small show, featuring a Spanish/Caribbean artist; a second small show, featuring country or electronic dance music; and a main show, featuring rap/trap artists.

Julie Frey is a senior/news features editor and can be reached at

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Julie Frey is a senior news/features editor at The Spectrum. She is a political science and environmental studies double major. She enjoys theorizing about Taylor Swift, the color yellow and reading books that make her cry. She can be found on Twitter @juliannefrey. 



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