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USF Week cuts events, adds Cobra Starship

A week after Jack’s Mannequin was announced to play at Bullstock as part of USF Week, another surprise awaited USF students – Cobra Starship would be headlining the event.

Yet to afford the $50,000 cost of the band, which was performing in the area around the time of Bullstock, Student Government (SG) had to give up much of its initial plans.

“Traditions were a really big thing for (student body President) Matt (Diaz),” SG Senate President Khalid Hassouneh said. “We really wanted to beef up USF Week and make it like Homecoming week. This is the year we make USF Week, or it’s going to die out, and you need those big headliners to bring in crowds and alumni.”

Initially, SG designated $110,000 in unallocated cash accounts toward the week, which would have featured a kick-off, lecture and philanthropy event in addition to Bullstock. The event’s first announced band, Jack’s Mannequin, cost $25,000. The SG unallocated cash funds have an excess of $900,000, according to a memo sent by Hassouneh and Diaz to the Senate.

The lecture, which hoped to attract a prominent speaker for $40,000, and the philanthropy event, which cost $5,000, were both canceled. Cobra Starship received $35,000 from auxiliary funds, which are generated through local business partnerships, and $15,000 from Activity and Service (A&S) fees, which are paid for by students.

“It costs money, but if that’s what students want, that’s what we’ll give them,” Hassouneh said. “With A&S, we have the opportunity to fund initiatives to fund things that otherwise wouldn’t be funded. The Provost is not going to take money away from classes for this.”

Diaz, who campaigned on the promise of promoting USF traditions, said he was disappointed with Homecoming last year.

“I know personally for me, I was not very satisfied with who came for Homecoming, and we identified that there was a need for headliners so our students have something to look forward to and something to remember,” he said. “They weren’t big enough names, and for me and even my predecessors from the past, they talk back to days when we used to have Ludacris and T-Pain and Flo Rida on campus at their peak of popularity. We need to bring back that tradition of marquee performances on campus.”

Hassouneh said the Activity and Service Recommendation Committee (ASRC), which will finalize its proposed budget by the end of the month, has recommended increasing funding for Homecoming, Campus Activities Board and USF Week next year by $200,000 to attract more prominent names.

“I think it’s good,” Diaz said. “For me, it’s a step in the right direction in starting a tradition or trend of having high-profile or well-known artists that our students are going to be able to enjoy.”