UBG wants to suspend the Big Event for 2020-2021. Here’s why.

Students might have to say good-bye to acts like Hoodie Allen, B.o.B and Jesse McCartney, as the Union Board of Governors (UBG) recently passed a proposal to suspend the 2020-2021 Big Event.

The proposal, which passed UBG with a two-thirds vote, still has to be approved by the Augustana Student Association (ASA). Voting will take place during its May 11 meeting.

In the annual concert’s place, a UBG task force would spend the year reassessing the event’s purpose. The task force would plan to use focus groups, surveys and advertising to get community feedback.

According to the UBG proposal, the Big Event has struggled financially in recent years.

“Big Event was created 15 years ago and the entertainment market in Sioux Falls has drastically changed,” the proposal says. “We [UBG] struggle to be competitive in a vibrant entertainment market in Sioux Falls and need to better define our campus needs and community collaborations necessary to pull off an event.”

According to Holden Sutter, one of next year’s UBG head governors and a key figure behind the proposal, the proposal was driven by regular discussions of what the Big Event means to Augustana, as well as how UBG can logistically achieve that goal.

“It’s no secret that, recently, Big Event hasn’t been the overwhelming success that it’s proven, in the past, it can be,” Sutter said. “With event costs increasing and the Sioux Falls entertainment scene constantly changing, we hope to learn what purpose Big Event serves to the Augustana community.”

However, the specifics of how the plan would be implemented are still in the works.

“Due to COVID-19 shaking up all of our lives, we’re still in the early stages of figuring out exactly what the focus groups will look like,” Sutter said.

So far, UBG has planned to form a group of students who will research the subject. Additionally, UBG will hold events where students can voice their opinions.

Financially, the proposal seeks for UBG to retain $2,500 of the usual $10,000 of the Big Event budget so the project can run effectively. According to ASA treasurer Logan Hattervig, the $7,500 that’s left over and retained from student fees would go to ASA’s Community Development Fund and Leadership Development Funds.

Those funds help student organizations finance on-campus expenses, such as events, as well as off-campus expenses, such as conferences and training.

Sutter said he’s unsure what the end product of the research will be, but thinks it will be different from previous years.

“It’s hard to predict what [the new purpose of the Big Event] will be,” Sutter said, “but I would guess that it won’t look exactly how it is now.”

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