Posted by Melanie Taverner, Class of 2013
On Friday, February 17th, a large crowd of students gathered for Ujima's jazz caf?? in the Spa to listen to spoken word poetry and grab free coffee, donuts, frozen yogurt and other desserts. The next night even more students came out to the Spa to dine on free soul food and watch Lift Every Voice Gospel Choir and Pulse perform. To most of Skidmore, these events were seen in isolation of one another, not as a continuing series of events that occur nearly every Friday and Saturday at 10pm in the Spa.
There is an SGA committee responsible for planning these events. Late Night at Skidmore not only refers to the greasy mozzarella sticks offered after 8pm in the dining hall; the Late Night committee brings you monthly open mic comedy nights and co-sponsorships with clubs that may range from a simple movie night to more involved events such as Ujima's jazz caf?? and Lift Every Voice's performance.
Late Night's goal is to be a reliable source of fun for students who want something to do on Fridays and Saturdays yet it is a profoundly unacknowledged resource. Late Night is doing more than ever with less money than in the past. The Committee offers a full calendar of events for both the fall and spring semesters with a budget of $5,000 less than last year.
Late Night could host approximately sixty events if there was an event every weekend night throughout the year. Currently, Late Night spends no more than $500 per co-sponsored event so Late Night's current budget of $30,000 just fits. When considering, however, the comedy acts that Late Night hires, which can range from $1,500 to well over $4,000, the Mentalist that comes every fall for $4,500 and other smaller events that host outside performers that are priced upwards of $1,000, this budget is not nearly enough.
Late Night's budget is only one third of the size of SEC's annual budget of $89,000. While it is understandable that SEC's budget needs to be substantial in order to sponsor the annual Big Show, only about half of their budget is spent on this show. This leaves $44,500, or about $3,000, per event for the remainder of their approximately fifteen smaller shows scattered throughout the year.
SEC is an example of a funding success story while Late Night is the horror story equivalent. With more funding, Late Night could be as successful as SEC due to its potential to offer the Skidmore community what SEC cannot. Late Night utilizes club sponsorships and maintains a strong focus on comedy acts that can complement SEC. Additionally, Late Night consistently offers everyone somewhere to go, something to do, on otherwise uneventful Fridays or Saturdays. Late Night is the answer administration's various task forces on alcohol use and abuse are looking for. Late Night is right under our nose- it is here and its potential needs to be recognized through increased funding.
Class of 2013