CSUN’s A.S. cuts entertainment budget

Samantha Tata

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Associated Students reduced the budget for the organization in charge of providing students with entertainment, such as concerts, lectures and cultural events free of charge.

SPACE, Student Production and Campus Entertainment, had their summer program eliminated for a second year in a row and their ability to sponsor campus events was significantly reduced.

The organization lost a total of $11,000 for the 2011-12 academic year – $7,000 was cut from summer programs and $4,000 from spirit funds, which allowed them to provide free CSUN swag during campus events. The motions were sponsored by President Conor Lansdale and Vice President Neil Sanchez.

This money was reallocated to A.S. travel funds, a portion of their overall budget that covers expenses for senate members to attend California State Student Association (CSSA) events held at the 23 CSU campuses year-round.

Executive Director Ali Garcia said summer programs, such as free movie screenings to students and faculty still on campus during the break, tend to garner less participation. But the cut to SPACE spirit funds will be the hardest felt. SPACE collaborates with student organizations to provide giveaway products for their events, a strong incentive for participation.

“Students love free stuff, that’s what they expect when they go to college,” said Ali Garcia, executive director of SPACE. “This may put a downer on some events but hopefully the students will understand that at least the event is free.”

There are not many giveaway products available from last year and once they’re gone there is no longer room in the budget to replenish them, Garcia said.

The Big Show, SPACE’s appropriately named outdoor concert held during the fall semester, will not be affected by this budget reduction, as they hold two separate accounts.

“Our main budget is like a checking account, and our Big Show budget is like a savings account,” Garcia said.

This fall’s Big Show budget was recently approved and allocated $170,000 for booking artists and publicity.

President-elect Amanda Flavin described the reduction as a double-edged sword.

“We want to increase our lobbying efforts with CSSA, but I don’t think this was the most appropriate place to get the funding,” she said.

Flavin proposed three motions to divert some attention from the SPACE budget. Her motion to reduce the A.S. central office supplies budget by $1,000 passed in the senate.

Lansdale and Sanchez also proposed to cut $3,000 from SPACE’s comedy and lectures budget, but it failed to pass a senate vote. If approved, it would have reduced the SPACE budget by $14,000 – the total A.S. travel budget for the coming academic year.

SPACE’s budget has fluctuated over the past few years. In 2008, they had approximately $95,000 from which to work, Garcia said. That figure went down to $74,000 in 2009. This year, SPACE has received a budget of approximately $84,000.

“That may seem like an increase, but we took a huge hit last year,” Garcia said. “We’re trying to make up for it little by little.”

Should SPACE need more money for their main budget come the fall semester, President-elect Flavin said there is room for flexibility to reallocate funds as long as the senate approves the measures.