$190,000 funding request to be debated at senate for outdoor concert

Alex Connor

After Thanksgiving Break, Student Government will vote on a $190,000 funding request that, if approved, would fund a “large entertainment event in the spring of 2018.”

While no acts have been finalized, nor will be finalized when the $190,000 request is voted on by senate on Nov. 29, Student Government President Cody West said the money needs to exist in the Student Union Board’s budget for them to begin reaching out to possible headliners and supporting artists. 

The large entertainment event, which if approved, would be an outdoor concert held in the Molecular Biology parking lots north of campus. The idea to host a concert was something West campaigned on during his bid for president this year as an attempt to “restore tradition” at Iowa State.

“It was our [West and Vice President Cody Smith] main platform point. It was the thing that really excited the student body,” West said.

West sees the outdoor concert as a continuation of an Iowa State tradition of live performances that was formally held during Veishea. West wants to clarify this outdoor concert is not an attempt to reinstate Veishea as a whole.

“This is not Veishea, it’s not going to be Veishea. That’s not what we’re going for. If you bring that name back into the mix that negative culture comes back very, very quickly,” West said.

In previous outdoor, spring concerts hosted at Iowa State, performers have included: Ludacris, Timeflies, Andy Grammer, Twenty One Pilots and Jamie Lynn Spears. 

“We wanted to give SUB the opportunity to have that really large, impactful event in the spring semester,” West said.

$190,000 is one of the larger funding requests Student Government has received in previous years. An $80,000 funding request made its way to senate earlier this semester and was inevitably tabled. 

The $190,000 would be pulled from the Student Government’s special projects account. The last tangible item to be funded by Student Government from this account was two years ago in which the senate allocated $144,000 for recyclable trash cans on campus.

“The Student Union Board is not a stranger to outdoor concerts. They just haven’t done one in awhile. They haven’t had the funding to do so and they really haven’t had the means in the past three or four years to put on this large-scale programming and entertainment event for students,” West said. 

If approved by senate, Student Government would put forth $190,000 and the Student Union Board would put forth $60,000. 

“If senate doesn’t award this funding, then in a way, they did not enable me to do my job. This is one thing the students indicated they really wanted over and over again,” West said. “They [the students] wanted a reoccurring event and we’ve done that a little with Cyclone Carnival, but this is something they also showed a lot of interest in.

“I just hope the senate really takes a step back and thinks about that.” 

A fear of some in senate is the fiscal picture for funding and possibly running out of money to allocate to student organizations next semester. 

Finance Director Steven Valentino, during the senate meeting on Nov. 8, said should senate approve the $190,000 from special projects, the account would dip down to about $305,000 to $205,000 after annual allocations.

“That leaves us at about $80,000 in terms of funds we can then allocate,” Valentino said. 

West, however, feels strongly that the senate should use its money on the “students that are here right now.”

“Students pay that student activity fee every year for their time at Iowa State. They don’t pay it for next year, they don’t pay it for last year. They don’t pay it for Student Government to hoard away money for the next five years,” West said. “If we can’t get that account balance down to the minimum every year, I don’t necessarily know that we’ve done our job.

Last year, $295,000 were “kicked-backed” to Student Government after funds allocated to student organizations were not spent or were improperly allocated in addition to what was not spent by the senate. 

“Anything that’s not spent for the purpose it was originally intended to be spent for comes back to us,” West said. 

If approved, “the event has the potential to be self-sustaining in the future,” through the sale of tickets to attend the outdoor concert which will be provided at a discount to students. 

The senate will vote on the legislation during its Wednesday, Nov. 29 meeting at 7 p.m. in the Campanile Room of the Memorial Union. Senate meetings are open to the public to attend.