Speaker Series overflow funds may provide bigger Park Fest act
By Marcy J. Robles and
A $40,000 dividend may be going to Park Fest this year because the World Within Reach Speaker Series budget did not exceed its designated amount, according to the President of Student Association (SA), Francis Agyemang.
A budget of $150,000 was allocated to the Speaker Series with the total amount spent equalling $110,000 including grants from University Auxiliary Services and the Alumni Association.
This year’s Speaker Series guests were members of the Obama Campaign, Senior Advisor David Axelrod, Campaign Manager David Plouffe, and Speechwriter Jon Favreau.
Attendance was close to 1,500 people.
With the available surplus, SA is planning to spend the funds on Park Fest.
Park Fest, an annual concert funded by SA will be the only SA funded concert this year. In previous years, SA funded two concerts – Parkfest and the now defunct Fall Fest, a fall concert that typically brought a rock group to campus. Past Fall Fest guests include Third Eye Blind, LMFAO and Far East Movement and The Cataracts.
Park Fest is usually more focused on hip-hop and rap groups like last year’s 2 Chainz and Travis Porter show.
“It has failed in the past doing two concerts with a not so big budget for each. Last year we spent about, $120,000, and not many people attended [Fall Fest],” said Agyemang.
According to the SA, Park Fest is the largest student organized concert in the Northeast, totaling over 2,000 attendees. Now combined with Fall Fest, this event has the potential to grow.
However, not everyone may be happy with the funds going towards Park Fest, especially those involved in clubs funded by SA.
“I feel like the funds are pretty low considering how much goes into TV production,” said Albany Student Television assistant executive producer of Afterhours and the senior executive producer of Nerdatory, Nayram Gasu.
“We are unable to advance our picture quality because we barely have funds to get better cameras. Because of low funds different shows can’t get different [set] backgrounds,” she said.
“I absolutely feel that groups are not funded enough,” said Jasmine Carrero, public relations chair of the UAlbany Salsa Club.
“We would love to do some performances or event, but we simply don’t have the funds to do that. We are growing bigger every year but it’s hard getting our name out there when we don’t have the resources to do so,” she said.
The reason why the excess money is not going to clubs, according to President Agyemang, is because the money was budgeted by the senate in the programming line and therefore the funds can only be used for programming.
“If the groups are recognized and funded, they can seek supplemental allocations through the senate. Forms are in the office. If they are not recognized and funded, they can apply for recognition and then seek a new funded budget of $250 a semester for two consecutive semesters. Then they can apply for a budget and supplemental allocations,” said Agyemang on behalf of groups searching for funds.
Some students have a more positive view on Park Fest excess funds. “Since the money is being spent on this event, my expectations are high. I’m anticipating Kendrick Lamar or J Cole, the artists of my dreams, which I suppose they should be able to afford,” said Pricilla Brown, UAlbany student.