Students will decide Concert Board fee increase

In the upcoming student elections, Concert Board will ask students to support a fee increase.

Since its inception in 1993, the Concert Board fee has been $5 for every student enrolled in three or more credit hours. The increase would bring the fee up to $9 for any student enrolled in three or more credit hours.

With the increased revenue from student fees, Concert Board intends to improve its service to UAA, representatives said.

“Concert Board is the only organization on campus with the mission statement to bring up nationally acclaimed entertainment,” said USUAA Sen. Elizabeth Percak-Dennett, a Concert Board member. “It’s really important to live up to that and to fulfill the needs of the students.”

Concert Board plans to increase the number of shows it puts on each year.

“Right now, we’re putting on about five shows a [year], and we want to up that to eight,” Percak-Dennett said.

An increase in the number of shows is only one possibility Concert Board is considering. Bringing up artists who would be more popular with students is another possible use of the additional money.

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“The spirit of this is getting more shows and larger shows,” Percak-Dennett said.

Zac Clark, concert program coordinator for Concert Board, shares Percak-Dennett’s enthusiasm.

“We want to show that our program is growing and that there is a lot going on at the university, and we have these awesome opportunities to bring up bands,” Clark said.

In the past, Concert Board has been successful in bringing up acts such as Jewel, Cake and Better Than Ezra.

However, the entertainment provided by Concert Board extends beyond music acts. Concert Board has also brought up comic acts like Bill Engvall, Jim Breuer and Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood of “Whose Line is it Anyway?”

It has also supplied the campus with lecturers such as Dr. Drew, and Morgan Spurlock of the documentary “Super-Size Me.”

For students taking three or more credit hours the cost of these performances is less than general admission.

“For instance, Capitol Steps. Students paid $7; general admission was $25,” Clark said, referring to a show held Sept. 23.

This is a policy Concert Board intends to hang onto in the future.

“Concert Board isn’t here to make money; it’s here to do a favor to the students and provide them discounted admission to shows, and to provide them a real good source of community around the Anchorage area,” Percak-Dennett said.

The decision to remain with a flat fee, and not a per-credit fee, is based on the discount any student with three or more credit hours receives on tickets.

“If you’re going to at least one class here, you see the same fliers, you go to the same events, you’re going to get the same discounts,” Percak-Dennett said.

A portion of the funds will go toward funding the board’s full-time coordinator, currently Zac Clark.

The cost of this position has been covered by funds from the concert budget for the past several years.

Concert Board has a special projects fund supported by a portion of the ticket sales. Students are allowed to apply for grants from the fund to bring new events, projects and ideas to campus.

Student government support for the Concert Board referendum was strong _” it received 15 votes in favor and none opposed. However, several senators abstained from voting on the referendum.

Sen. Mara Machulsky’s reason for abstention was not opposition to the fee increase, but the wording of the referendum sponsored by Percak-Dennett.

“I voiced strong support to the Concert Board fee increase. What I was not in support of was the referendum. I felt that the referendum proposed was not adequately presented with ample information for the students to make an informed decision,” Machulsky wrote in an e-mail.

Students voiced their agreement with Machulsky after reading the referendum.

“I would support it if it wasn’t so vague,” said sophomore Owen Miller.

Students who have read the referendum think it emphasizes the use of funds to offset the cost of the coordinator’s salary, while making only vague references to increasing the frequency or size of future shows.

“I don’t want to pay more for someone’s salary,” said sophomore Brittany Pearson.

A pressing issue with many students is their lack of interest in attending Concert Board events.

“I never go to concerts; I don’t have time for concerts,” said sophomore Erin von Bose.

Not all students are opposed to increasing the Concert Board fee.

“If it’s going to bring more concerts and things to do on campus, I’m for it,” said sophomore Cherryl Nickerson.

The Concert Board urges students to discuss their entertainment preferences with board members.

“We’re a program you’re paying for; what can we do to get you to a show?” Clark said.