Budget falls short of funds

Faced with mounting costs, Florida A&M students will receive less than expected for their activity and service fee, which pays for homecoming. Sandra Inge, director of student activities, said the cost of hosting homecoming festivities increased and corporate sponsorship has decreased compared to last year.

Inge said it has been difficult to pay for all desired homecoming activities.

“The cost of running things has not stayed the same…it would have been nice to have $50,000 more,” Inge said.

According to the activity and service budget, the total amount allocated for homecoming is $282,210. The most expensive event is the homecoming concert at $161,120, scheduled for Oct. 24 at the Leon County civic center.

Concert promoters said they tried to minimize costs by inviting artists students can afford. The concert budget has stayed static while the cost of hiring talent has increased.

“We have set the concert budget comfortable so that my company and the university would not be placed in a bad situation,” said Will McKenzie, chief executive officer of Double Trouble Entertainment.

McKenzie said the talent selection for the concert was based on the concert budget and ticket pricing students could afford. According to the activity and service budget, $104,000 was allocated for the promoter, and the all-inclusive artist and production fees. McKenzie said tickets for the concert are $20 in advance and $30 at the door.

“Profit levels vary from year to year…this is not a money making venture,” said Henry Kirby, vice president of student affairs. “Whatever remains after all expenses are paid is divided between the university and the promotion company 60 [percent] [to] 40 [percent] respectively… last year we had balance of $23,000.”

Other major events will be held at the New Teaching Gymnasium with no ticket cost to students.

“We wanted to give all students the advantage of attending all three major events comfortably,” Inge said. “Gaither gym only fits 3,500 people, the new gym is bigger and nicer and has a nice cost attached as well.”

Because of cost associated with the dorm step show, fashion show and comedy show being hosted in the New Teaching Gymnasium, many events were moved, downsized or cancelled.

Inge said she promised students a few years ago that by this time homecoming would include a big dance with a sit down dinner and live band.

“Now we’re only able to afford a DJ, cookies and punch,” Inge said.

The annual block party that is sponsored by VIBE Magazine and Black Entertainment Television was also downsized because of lack of sponsorship.

Inge said VIBE Magazine no longer exists and BET is not providing as much sponsorship as they had in the past.

“We will still have food and special guests but may not have as much goodies and giveaways,” Inge said.

The Homecoming Kick-Off Bash was also cancelled due to costs.

“The events will still be nice and students will have fun,” Inge said.
Events  planned  by the Office of Student Activities are allocated $100,000 in total according to the 2009-2010 activities and service budget. This year the budget increased from $2.9 million to $3.2 million.

“This year we had a boost in enrollment which caused a boost in the budget,” said Morris Hawkins, SGA chief financial officer. “The activity and service budget is funded by a $10.50 activity and service charge per student per semester.”

Despite the spike in enrollment, Hawkins who has worked with student government finances since 2005, said he has never seen the amount given for homecoming change drastically.