Tracking the money
Grand Valley State University’s Presidents’ Ball is receiving an increase in its budget of 17.5 percent, rising from $33,000 in 2014 to $40,000 in 2015. The item is the second highest percent increase designated by the Student Senate in its annual budget proposal, sitting just behind the 43 percent increase in the service and advocacy budget. It also comes as other budget items — such as the academic and professional council — see a decrease in funding.
Emma Moulton, Student Senate vice president of public relations, coordinated the ball in February. She said the increase in budget is due to rises in the prices of the various costs of the event.
“The main reason for the increase is just because of inflation,” Moulton said. “Everyone is raising their prices.”
For the 2014 Presidents’ Ball, the senate received $33,000 from the Student Life Fund. This money did not cover the entire cost of the event, which was $99,705.
The remaining money came from ticket sales. This year, 3,487 tickets were sold for the dance at $15 a piece, and 480 tickets were sold for the dinner at $30. That means that $52,305 was made in ticket sales for just the dance, and $14,400 was made in ticket sales for the dinner, generating a total of $66,705 in ticket revenue.
Next year, the budget from the Student Life Fund will increase to $40,000. LeaAnn Tibbe, assistant director of Student Life, said the office won’t allow the price of tickets to increase anymore.
When the Presidents’ Ball first became a GVSU tradition almost 30 years ago, it was a small, free event inside the Kirkhof Center. Less than 200 students attended during its first few years.
This year, 3,967 students attended Presidents’ Ball, which was held at the DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids. Renting out the DeVos Place for the night cost $15,000, and a required Amway-catered dinner cost $28,000.
Aside from the dinner and the venue, the next largest expense was the amenities — the extra things students got with the price of their ticket. Amenities include the costs of the photo booths, charter buses, candy bar and the cappuccino man. These cost a combined total of $38,300 for the night.
Tibbe said coordinators could cut out all of the amenities, but then the event wouldn’t live up to GVSU’s standards for the ball.
“I think the students have come to expect the high-level event,” she said.
She added that as the event has grown, the cost of the amenities has increased. For example, when the planners decided to have a photo booth at the event, only one was added. Another was added after realizing the high demand for it the first year, and this year, there were three booths to accommodate all the students.
The cost of buses has also increased due to the high demand. Tibbe said that at the 2014 Presidents’ Ball, a total of 1,725 students took advantage of the free charter buses from Allendale to the DeVos Place — an increase of 525 riders from 2013.
Presidents’ Ball budget:
University Promotions Office (video/ads): $3,000
Devos Rental: $15,000
Amway Dinner: $28,000
Candy Bar: $1,000
DJ Ricky: $750
Charter Buses: $10,000
Photo Booth: $2,000
Cappuccino Man: $2,300