USF Week funds up in the air as CSI kicks off online events

Campus Activities Board will stream live events through Instagram and Zoom for students throughout the semester. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

Next week, seniors would have been making some of their final USF memories by attending talent shows, a lecture from the University Lecture Series, celebrating Rocky the mascot’s birthday and rocking out at the Bullstock music festival, all part of USF Week.

Now, they will have to attend Campus Activities Board (CAB) events online instead. 

CAB, an organization under the Center for Student Involvement (CSI), announced March 31 that it is providing online events for students to connect with them despite stay-at-home orders.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, events CAB typically host in spring, including Movies on the Lawn, Bullstock and USF Week — an event projected to cost $177,000 — have been canceled, according to CSI Associate Director Joshua Wilson. 

Contracted talents have either canceled or are in negotiations to move to the fall semester.

“We want our community to know that we are actively looking into how we can shift some of these ideas and opportunities into the fall,” Wilson said.

The canceled events include Bullstock, an annual concert that marks the end of USF Week, which has previously hosted bands such as 3OH!3 and X Ambassadors alongside the winner of the annual Battle of the Bands. 

USF Week was previously scheduled to take place April 13-18, and consisted of a talent show, a concert, a guest speaker and events celebrating the history of USF.

These events come with a great expense. Last year, the total budget for Bullstock was $173,867 — because of an additional allocation of $50,000 — and the cost of a University Lecture Series speaker is anywhere from $6,500 to $30,000. 

However, artists and speakers are not paid until after their performance/lectures, according to the contracts CSI provides. 

Students pay for these events through their student tuition, specifically the Activity and Service (A&S) Fees — a flat fee of $7 per semester and $12 per credit hour. Since these events are no longer occurring, the money left over this semester will be greater than anticipated.

In regard to what will happen to the allocated event money, Wilson said it’s “a question that [they’re] actively looking at.”

While students will miss out on this semester’s in-person events, Wilson said CAB has planned online events throughout the semester.

“Campus Activities Board has planned a few events to bring USF virtually to students,” Wilson said. “It’s a cool way to see students from all over the country just connect.”

Events such as “Disney Trivia” hosted on Zoom today at 5 p.m. and calligraphy lessons on Instagram TV Thursday at 6 p.m. will be a weekly occurrence for the rest of the semester, Wilson said. 

CAB hasn’t received any feedback from students regarding the change, but a turnout of more than 50 students at its “Open Mic Night” event hosted via its page’s Instagram Live last Thursday “is a good sign,” according to Wilson.

“We only gave it maybe two or three days for the promotion because we pulled it off pretty quickly,” Wilson said. “We just wanted to get something going and rip off the virtual Band-Aid to make it happen.”

Students employed by CAB were offered the opportunity to step away from their positions after the change was announced. As of April 6, no students have stepped away or have been laid off.

“We, the Center for Student Involvement, have not let go of any of our Campus Activities Board students,” Wilson said. “We did provide students the opportunity, based on their needs if they needed to focus on life and focus on these major shifts that are happening.”

Even with a full staff, Wilson said this will be a packed rest of the semester.

“We’re cranking out right now, we’ve got a lot to do.”