The mass student disappointment vocalised after this year’s key freshers’ event, Big Bang, was somewhat inevitable. Low capacity venues are a constant plague to University events. Every year students complain about the quality of YUSU-organised events. But the fact remains: we are students at a small University in a small city. Venues large enough to host the 2,000 plus guests who attended Big Bang are near impossible to come by in York. Every year the chosen venue is a disappointment.
While the new freshers may complain that they didn’t get in to see the headline act at Big Bang, we must remember that at Freshers’ Ball last year, the headline act failed to even turn up. YUSU always promise to do better next year and always fail. In a statement to Nouse, YUSU said that guests who didn’t get to see the main act, Maria and the Diamonds, could see the other acts performing at the events. But surely the organisers were aware that seeing a student DJ by no means measures up to seeing the well-known headliner? At some point we must begin to question whether blaming ‘poor venue choice’ for inadequate events is an acceptable excuse.
Rather than changing the location of freshers’ events, YUSU must become more creative and utilise the smaller venues they have access to. They must also ensure that students are fully informed of the possibility that they will not be able to see the ‘headline’ act. A student has accused YUSU of “misrepresentative advertising”. While YUSU may not have intentionally duped students, clarity is essential. Events with two smaller headliners to choose from are surely preferable.
The sooner we realizse that we do not have the facilities to host mass student events, the sooner students will begin to change their expectations of the events and disappointment will become less frequent. YUSU organisation and honesty is crucial if future events are to succeed. Last year’s freshers queued for up to two hours for buses to the York Racecourse.
This sort of mishap is avoidable and YUSU need to focus their efforts on organisation and creativity. They must utilise the small venues they have access to and strive to work around the capacity problems that seem unavoidable. At the same time students must learn to be patient and accept that steps are being made in the right direction. Though it is understandable that Freshers were disappointed, older students should appreciate the effort made for The Big Bang and the unavoidable problems it ran into.