Students are known for being thrifty with money. Masters in the art of bargain buying, we learn to make our pounds – or, more commonly, our overdrafts – stretch. Buy-one-get-one-free deals and cheap nights out are the norm when that student loan has to see you through until the next payment.
In light of this, therefore, it was surprising to learn that the James College JCRC spent £4,000 on a single night during Freshers’ Week. Thursday night of the schedule promised a welcoming gig at the new James College bar, headlined by indie rock group The Maccabees. But when they, alongside a second act, pulled out beforehand, the James College JCRC was forced to produce a replacement and, ultimately, Radio DJ Reggie Yates was booked for the full £4,000 – a night saved, but at a hefty cost.
It would be a Scrooge move to begrudge the James College JCRC for going that extra mile to ensure their new arrivals enjoyed their Freshers’ Week, however, it begs the question: how does the budget look for the rest of the year?
Unfortunately, the financial implications of spending £4,000 on a single evening may well stretch into the future, and James residents may find their JCRC fails to deliver. After all, one night of Freshers’ Week is just one night during what should be an enjoyable and comparatively carefree first year – the Quad Dash and Bash, the Summer Formal, the Christmas Ball. All events could suffer from the cost of repairing a single night.
What particularly concerns me is the concept of consistency. Applicants choose colleges for a number of reasons, one undoubtedly being the events it has to offer throughout the year. Once Freshers’ Week fever has worn off we look to yuletide and summer events to satiate our hunger for the university experience before reality strikes in year two.
From a personal point of view, I would be happy to settle for one less-than-perfect night during Freshers’ Week if it guaranteed a decent budget for the rest of the year’s events. After all, every member of every college places trust in the hands of their respective JCRC – money matters included. And, from the point of view of a spectator, £4,000 on one night seems like a fairly frivolous spend, even for an elected official.
Members of James College may well argue that Yates’ fee was money well spent. Though if the fun ends with Reggie Yates, the year ahead looks bleak.