UB’s undergraduate Student Association (SA) plans to spend the more than $300,000 originally earmarked for its annual Fall Fest concert to fund Spring Fest, a Comedy Series show, provide supplemental club funding, as well as $35,000 for “miscellaneous” purposes, SA President Becky Paul-Odionhin said at a town hall-style event Wednesday evening.
During Wednesday’s presentation, Paul-Odionhin displayed an emailed table indicating that $150,000 in Fall Fest funds will be used for Spring Fest talent and production, and $100,000 will be used for “Comedy Talent.” $50,000 will be split among three entities for supplemental club funding: $15,000 each for the SA vice president and for club council coordinators (who will split the money seven ways) and $20,000 for the SA Senate.
Supplemental funding is not part of clubs’ operating budgets, and clubs must specially request it at those entities’ discretion. It is typically used to fund clubs’ signature events and equipment purchases, and to cover travel expenses for competitions.
An additional $35,000 is earmarked for “miscellaneous” purposes.
“Things just randomly arise, like the fact that we have to pay a bill from last year, because stuff happens,” Paul-Odionhin said of that line item. She did not specify what bill SA is paying with the money.
Both Paul-Odionhin and Vice President Sammi Pang held their current offices last year.
The announcement of how SA plans to spend Fall Fest funds came two months after SA abruptly canceled Fall Fest in a two-sentence Instagram post on Sept. 27. Except when COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were in effect, it was the first time the concert had been canceled since SA took over responsibility for the event in 1991.
Over a week after the SA’s initial announcement, Paul-Odionhin sent a mass email to students, blaming the cancellation on rising Fall Fest expenses and UB Athletics, which did not provide SA with any dates to book Alumni Arena as a rain location. Paul-Odionhin also wrote that “most” of the Fall Fest budget would be “added to the Spring Fest budget and club supplemental funding channels.”
In Wednesday’s presentation, Paul-Odionhin called that email “a success.” She said SA’s chief problems are “hating of SA” and “inadequate communication,” and that students are deterred from engaging with SA because of its reputation.
“Sometimes I encounter literally freshmen, two weeks in, and they go, ‘We hate SA, it’s because my club told me so,’” she said. “That doesn’t help us, because that means people just hate for no actual reason, and it’s hard to talk to people that way.”
Several attendees complained about difficulty reaching SA officials. Paul-Odionhin responded by calling on club leaders to do a better job of communicating with SA.
“Communication is a two-way street,” she said. “If something is absolutely confusing, say it.”
Paul-Odionhin declined to answer questions from a Spectrum reporter at the town hall.
Sol Hauser is a news editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org