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Editorial | Snowball: An impressive event, but was it worth a year's tuition?

By Editorial Board
On February 7, 2014

Our amazing new office in the Armstrong Student Center (ASC) provided The Miami Student staff a great view of the 2014 SnowBall last Thursday. An estimated 1,500-1,800 students showed up to enjoy a night full of dancing, celebrating and eating some really tasty snowflake cookies, among other treats. Some compared the event to a decked-out high school prom; a few guys even broke out their tuxedos. Tickets were free and students came and went as they pleased between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m.

The event was a huge hit. We give the food, the music and the décor thumbs up, and everyone we talked to seemed to have a good time. But the Editorial Board of The Miami Student is a bit concerned about the amount of money spent on last week's grand gala. The SnowBall wracked up a bill of $27,000, spending $14,000 on food alone, according to co-chair of the SnowBall planning committee and Secretary for On-Campus Affairs Cole Tyman. That's right around a year of in-state tuition at Miami University.

This put a lot of students into sticker shock; 80 percent of you thought it was too much according to an online poll. But the SnowBall planning committee actually stayed well under its original budget of $36,000 - an outrageous amount of money to allot for a five-hour party.

Our concern is the fact that the planning committee for the SnowBall was given $36,000 in the first place. We understand the people behind the ASC and SnowBall wanted to throw an event students would never forget - and we believe they were successful in doing just that. But we do want students to know just how much money Miami spends to keep its students entertained. And with all the renovations and new buildings popping up around campus, Miami is burning through money at incredible rates.

When you do the math, the $27,000 averages out to about $18 a student. This is relatively low. Much lower than other events on campus and much less than you probably spent on your high school prom ticket. Tyman says the majority of the money went to Carillon Catering. The rest was spent on decorations and a last-minute expansion of the dance floor, per President Hodge's request. The music was put on by DJ Steve the Greek and students who attended were all given a complementary Armstrong Student Center/Miami University coffee mug, with a package of instant hot cocoa, of course. But the fact remains: that amount of money could have covered someone's tuition for a year.

The question Miami students need to ask themselves is: are we okay with that kind of money being spent for our pure entertainment while we go into debt to pay our tuition and our academic departments face down-sizing?

This beautiful new student center was built "For the Students, By the Students" and the SnowBall event was designed with that mission in mind. We think they did an excellent job of that.

According to Tyman, the planning committee reached out to a number of large student organizations such as RHA, the Greek Councils, Diversity Affairs Council, MUSF, MAP, ASG and the ASC Board. He said, "We felt, between those organizations, that is a pretty representative size of campus." Each one of these organizations was given the opportunity to put a representative on the SnowBall committee. Only a few of them took that opportunity up, according to Tyman. The committee then based many of their decisions on these student representatives' input. We understand you can't please everyone, so this was a great way to make sure the SnowBall would be a hit with a wide range of students.

Like we said, we think the event was a hit. But we also believe you should know what it cost us.

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