The launch of the graduation ball has, as usual, ignited a fierce debate about how it’s so expensive, how the SU is completely out of touch, and how ‘other Unions do it better.’
Well, it is, we’re not, and they don’t.
We’ve already taken tickets off sale because we realised pretty quickly we’d made a mistake and a lot of students have cash flow issues at this point in term. Sorry! They’ll be back on sale at the beginning of term 3, once your student loan has arrived.
I apologise as this is a bit of a long one, but I felt it deserved the attention. If you’re in a hurry and/or don’t like reading things, then skip to the summaries for each question.
“£68 a ticket? You must be having a laugh…”
We’re not, really. It’s a lot of money. There’s no two ways about it. However, the Graduation Ball is budgeted to be completely non-profit. That is to say, at 1150 tickets sold (the number of attendees last year, give or take) we break even. To put this into context, when societies put on any event, including balls, we ask them to budget for a break even at 65% attendance, to avoid making losses. That means the Graduation Ball is a fairly big risk for the Union to take, and one that we don't take lightly. We do it because we know it's going to be a brilliant event, and something to remember your University life by, but 'brilliant' does not come cheap.
We don’t attract any sponsorship for this event, so we can’t subsidise the costs at all. That means that your £68 covers the four course (delicious) meal, transport to and from the event, décor to transform the venue, entertainment to add a unique and unforgettable twist to your night. We’re not planning on making money out of you; the ticket price is literally what it costs.
Summary: £68 goes in, £68 value comes out. It’s expensive, yes, and if you don’t want to pay it – don’t go.
“Other Unions do it better…”
“…my friend goes to the University of Narnia and they had Freddie Mercury performing, gave them pure gold to eat, and actually paid them to go…!”
Some Union’s may do it better, but we think we’re actually pretty near the top. We’re lucky to have an experienced, dedicated entertainments team who really know what they’re doing. Besides, most unions have stopped doing a formal dinner because they simply can’t make it viable. Most other Summer Balls that you may hear your friends going to or see advertised are much more similar to our Summer Party than the Graduation Ball, and from what I’ve seen of those, they’re all considerably more expensive than the £38 you’ll be paying for the Summer Party.
Just to give a couple of examples of how other Union’s really don’t do it better sometimes…
Two years ago, Nottingham lost £70,000 on their version of the summer party. - http://www.su.nottingham.ac.uk/news/article/6001/2306/
Last year, Imperial Union made a £120,000 loss on their version of our summer events. (To put it into context, this is double what our planned surplus is for this year) -
Summary: You might find a couple of Unions who do it better, we’re not saying we do it the best. But we do it pretty well, despite the risks that are evidenced by the two previous links.
What the hell is with the medieval theme? What have you guys been smoking?
First things first – the Grad Ball will always be a sharp, glamorous black-tie affair. The theme is meant to add a bit of a twist to a night and make it something you will never forget. It’s obvious that some people have read into this theme as though they will be expected to dress up in medieval garb, which was never the intention at all!
We’ve still got plenty of time before the graduation ball, and, importantly, plenty of time before we re-launch the tickets. So here’s your opportunity to put some feedback in about the theme and give us an idea of what you want. Here's a question I've asked on facebook: www.facebook.com/questions/10151408081205201/?qa_ref=sa
If you don’t use facebook then just drop me an e-mail [ email@example.com ] or comment on here!
Summary: We realise the theme has created quite a few misconceptions. Take your opportunity to say which of the themes you would like to see at the graduation ball.
Too long, didn’t read summary of the whole thing – we’re not perfect, everyone makes mistakes. Hopefully you can at least respect the fact that we’ve taken immediate action to address the concerns that have been raised to us, and take this opportunity to give us your views!