Ticket sales for this year's Charity Ball plummeted and now a USC committee is recommending an event program overhaul.
The University Students’ Council’s portfolio service level & program review committee is presenting a motion on Wednesday that will give future Charity Balls better strategic direction. It focuses on hosting the event off-campus, improving the event’s advertising and emphasizing the charity’s promotion over the event’s annual theme.
The recommendations will hopefully remedy this year’s Charity Ball’s low ticket sales. The Jan. 30 event only sold 600 tickets, just over half of last year's 1,100. The sales also contributed to the USC’s lowest charity donation in at least six years with $5,100 raised for the London’s First Episode Mood and Anxiety Program. In comparison, the USC’s 2013 Charity Ball raised close to $18,000 for charity with over 2,200 students attending.
Taryn Scripnick, USC vice-president of student events, explained the poor turnout could be due to Mustang Lounge’s smaller venue capacity versus previous off-campus sites. Aside from the event’s sparse crowd, though, Scripnick said she received positive feedback about the evening, too.
“A lot of people complimented on the décor, which was really great because Mustang Lounge didn’t really look like Mustang Lounge,” Scripnick said. “We had compliments on the food as well because we never had food before.”
If attendance at Western’s largest student formal continues to decline, however, the committee wants council to consider returning to the event’s past as a sit-down dinner or opening it up to the larger student population as a wet/dry event.
According to Charity Ball coordinator Diana Su, this year’s marketing strategy team focused less on the event and more on hooking students up with the local charity.
“This year, we spent a lot more time focusing on [FEMAP],” said Su. “By trying to provide that resource to the students through social media, dedicating a week 'Treat Yourself' [as] promotion for the charity, going to visit the charity, talking to patients and doctors and trying to make that information available to everyone both through our social media presence and at our booth.”
Scripnick also noted that the event’s Mustang Lounge location allowed the USC to address some of past students’ complaints such as lack of transportation to and from the event and long coat check lines. She added the USC is already looking toward next year by reaching out the London Convention Centre to “try to hold a date” for next year, so the organizers will have a choice whether to hold the event on campus or off.
“I think we did amazing with the location we had and the situation we had,” said Scripnick. “I think if it was at the Mustang Lounge again, it would still be a great success.”