Although most students said they enjoyed this year’s Homecoming festivities, there were a few who were unable to attend events in the Gaither Gymnasium because of a lack of available tickets.
Two weeks prior to Homecoming, the Office of Student Activities distributed 3,000 student tickets over the course of two days.
But Britnee Williams, 21, a second-year pharmacy student from Jacksonville, said she was turned away twice on the days free tickets were being given out because OSA ran out.
“I was working,” Williams said. “…I went on my lunch break and couldn’t get tickets on either day. If it’s 1,500 tickets a day, then they didn’t even get out [enough tickets for] half the student body.”
Saundra Inge, associate director of OSA said the reason only 3,000 tickets were distributed is because the gym is only able to hold 3,350 people before it becomes a fire hazard.
But this year Inge said OSA was not even able to utilize the full potential of the space in the gym because of the amount of equipment in the room and the provisional seating.
She said seating had to be set for the judges in the talent/comedy show; extra provisions had to be made during the fashion show because of the runway and there was also a limited amount of special seating available.
“The 3,000 students that received tickets were seated in the bleachers…We also had seating for the royal court, SGA, student performers and VIP seating in the center of the gym,” Inge said. “Student media was filming for FAMU TV20 and DJ’s from the radio station were also there.”
Although additional VIP tickets were sold after the 3,000 tickets were distributed, Inge said most of the extras were given away.
“We gave them away on the Set and to the radio station…Not more than 50 tickets were actually sold,” Inge said.
Crystal Jessamy, 19, a sophomore mechanical engineering student from Westbury, N.Y., said she was unaware that tickets were free and did not have money to buy VIP tickets.
“I wish I could have gotten in on one of those giveaways, but I just went to all of the free events that didn’t require tickets,” Jessamy said.
Inge also said if the venue was any larger, it would have been more costly.
“If we were to have the events at the [Leon County] Civic Center, students would be paying at least $35 a piece for each event,” Inge said.
She added that it would have also cost more to book the entertainers.
“Because we’re a part of the ACUI [the Association of College Unions International], which], which is an organization that ties you into artists and speakers , they have what’s called blocked booking,” Inge said. “So we can get artists that are already in the area and it’s not that expensive to have them come.”
Once construction is complete on the new teaching gym, which will be located at the corner of Wahnish Way and Okaloosa Street, Inge said more students would be able to use it as a venue.
The number of people the building is expected to hold is unknown but is estimated in the lower thousands.
Williams said although she was unable to go to any of the events this year, with the teaching gymnasium everyone will have the opportunity to get tickets.
“That’s a good way to reach out to the students, especially students who don’t stay on campus or work,” she said.
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