University of Southern Maine students can look forward to a concert on the Gorham campus April 28, with plans for the event moving forward after the Student Senate approved the use of student activity fee funds in January. No artist has been chosen yet.
With a budget of over $27,000, organizers say the event is intended to bring in upwards of 1,000 people, students and non-students, which would make it the biggest on-campus concert since 2000 when the Mighty Mighty Bosstones played at USM.
The proposal for an on-campus concert was brought to the Student Senate in December by Dan Welter, the coordinator of student activities and adviser to the Gorham Events Board. “Every institution I have ever been to has had a spring concert,” he said. “Students go to UMO and UNH to attend this type of event. I want to showcase USM and the great things we can do with our students, facilities and resources.”
While events using student activity fee funds are usually organized by individual students and student groups, Welter is the main coordinator of the project. “The GEB. thought it was important for there to be a single contact person,” said he said.
USM is in need of large on-campus events like a concerts, according to Chris O’Connor, director of Portland Student lLife. “For me we don’t have enough of these moments,” said O’Connor. “But to have a time that is just dancing with your friends, having a great time, that could be pure joy.”
With over 85 percent of the student body commuters, some students have expressed disinterest in on-campus events. “I stopped paying attention that much to events,” said Katie Bruzgo, a junior accounting major. “I used to but I lost interest because they don’t seem like something I am interested in. I care more about the quality of teachers and class offerings than I do about having events for students.”
Welter said the coordination of the concert is currently in its beginning stages. Other groups including Portland Events Board and various individuals are involved and are in the process of forming a planning committee. The committee will be responsible general logistics, deciding on an affordable artist with broad appeal and finding an agency to represent USM in interactions with potential entertainers. According to Welter, the decision about which artist to approach should be made by March 1, but it will be a while after that before the artist is announced to the public.
The committee will be responsible for exploring the possibilities for an event of this size. The committee will be responsible general logistics, deciding on an affordable artist with broad appeal and finding an agency to represent USM in interactions with potential entertainers.
A major catalyst for the idea to plan a concert was the fact that there were more available student activity funds available than in previous years. A third of the student activity fee money goes to the Student Communications Board, the governing body that oversees The Free Press and WMPG. The remaining funds go toward student government expense and to funding student groups and on-campus events. This year there was $68,000 in un-allocated funds.
While the artist has not been decided upon, Welter said it is guaranteed the concert will be on campus, although the location has not been finalized. Welter said that for now, an off campus location is out of the question due to too many unknown factors like insurance liability and costs.
In the meantime, Welter is working with the Student Senate to develop a business plan that will ensure this event will be a money-maker that can grow and develop with each coming year. Welter said events like the concert usually take about six months of planning. “We have only three for this,” he said
Welter said ticket prices will likely be about $5 for USM students and $25 for non-students.