Due to the cancellation of their annual Charity Ball and low attendance at their last annual general meeting (AGM), the University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) says they are trying to create a greater presence on campus.
Camilla Tapp, UMSU president, said that it came to a point where not enough tickets were sold for UMSU to feel the ball was going to be a success.
“UMSU thought that it is the time to cancel it to make sure that we didn’t lose any money on it,” she said.
She explained that UMSU had issues with the Charity Ball in past years as well, as attendance seemed to be dwindling
When asked how UMSU had marketed the event, Tapp said the event was marketed extensively, stating that they had set up a booth in University Centre, and used Facebook, Twitter and posters to advertise.
Tapp speculated that Charity Ball event was not attractive to students.
She said that in the previous year the event was after exams and this year UMSU had move it to the last day of class to see if the timing was better for students.
“But it didn’t work out,” she said.
“UMSU is going to make suggestions to the next executives to maybe consider a different event because it hasn’t been successful in the past,” said Tapp.
The Charity Ball is not the only UMSU event to have received little attention from students this year. UMSU’s last AGM, held in November 2011 on the Bannatyne campus, was attended by only a handful of students.
Tapp explained the low attendance By saying AGMs are difficult to get people out to because “it is an hour of us talking about what we have done.
“UMSU would like more people to attend, and we are trying to advertise the AGM and encourage our council [members] to attend,” Tapp said.
She said if there are any critiques of their events, UMSU would like to hear them so they can take them into account in future.
When asked about the Charity Ball, Justin Quigley, UMSU vice-president (internal), explained only about 150 tickets were sold, “which was low enough to cancel the event.”
He noted that UMSU did lose some money from the cost of booking the room and some minor inventory items.
“However, UMSU cancelled soon enough to minimize those losses,” he said. He explained that UMSU will use the money allotted for the Charity Ball for other events.
Students the Manitoban spoke with seemed unaware of the details of the Charity Ball, and some had never heard of the event before.
Kelan Torch, a faculty of science student, said that he hadn’t heard anything about the Charity Ball this year.
“I would probably guess that not enough people knew about the event, which is probably why it didn’t sell enough tickets,” he said.
Charu Chandra, a student in the faculty of science, said that he remembers seeing some posters about Charity Ball last year, but felt that UMSU could have directed their efforts to other endeavours.
“I hope that UMSU learns from last year and tries other strategies other than Charity Ball, which is something that the student population may not be into,” Chandra said.
Quigley told the Manitoban UMSU is formalizing a Bannatyne Student Caucus this year, in order to help Bannatyne Students become better aware of upcoming AGMs.
“Caucus will provide with better information to accommodate the Bannatyne students’ busy schedules,” he said.
By comparison, the U of M Commerce Students’ Association (CSA) annual Christmas social had one of the their most successful years in 2011, selling over 3,000 tickets.
Emily Ashley, social programming co-chair for the CSA, explained that the CSA “relentlessly” promoted this year’s social in advance, with the use of radio ads, postering, and social media.
“Social media became our best friend,” Ashley said, pointing out that the association’s Commerce Socials Facebook page has been able to gain over 2,000 friends.
“We make a point of formally announcing all of our events, we send out personal messages to our friends on Facebook and we make sure that the quality of information we put out is the best possible,” she said.
Ashley said that another factor in the CSA’s success were the partnerships they made with local businesses and professionals, including Canad Inns, in the planning stages of the event.
“We started a huge partnership with Canad Inns because we realized that our demographics are the same,” she said, explaining that the company helped CSA book the majority of their DJ roster for the event.