Sunday, January 25, 2009

Inaugural Festivities - Worth the cost?

To commemorate the Inauguration of this nation's 44th President, GW pulled out all the stops. To begin, the University put the campus on lock-down mode, hiring extra security and placing UPD on double shifts. Then came the Inaugural themed events around campus all weekend and the mass hysteria in prepping for the insanity on January 20th. But the most notable acts of The George Washington University were the Float in the Inaugural Parade and the GW Inaugural Ball. The money GW spent on the float was previously discussed in "Was GW Inaugural Float Worth Price Tag" and it was made pretty clear that the $88,000 was pretty ridiculous. Does our University really feel the need to spend money on such a unnecessary novelty? Yet, to add even more money into the Inauguration bill, The GW Inaugural Ball brought the University even further into the red. The GW Hatchet reported:
The event cost the University a total of $575,000, which includes renting the ballrooms, hiring security, providing a free coat check and coach bus transportation and absorbing some of the soft drink and water costs, said University spokeswoman Tracy Schario. Revenue from the ticket sales covered only two-thirds of the total cost, partially because the University did not expect virtually all of the tickets to be sold at the discounted Election Day price.
My rough calculations come up with GW losing a whopping $189,750 on its Inaugural Ball. So I ask some questions. Was it necessary to have 7 different Ballrooms? Where does the University make up for the lost funds? The Ball was a success for attendees. It capped off an unprecedented weekend with style and glamour. But was it worth it. Could the money have been spent somewhere else? Perhaps it could have been placed into the University's scholarship fund? I feel as if the ball was a bit overdone and the money could have gone to good use elsewhere. Here is a video of the Inaugural Ball. 



senorpenguin said...

Float no. Ball yes. The float was a hodgepodge with no vision that garnered about 15 seconds of airtime. On the other hand, the Ball was a real event that brought students, faculty, and alumni together. The school added ballrooms because the event proved to be so popular. When it comes to actually bringing 5000 people together, I'm ok with spending a little money.

Jason Lifton (Guest Blogger) said...

The inaugural ball wasn't initially 7 ballrooms, however once the ball sold out within the first 24 hours and a wait list of over 1200 people emerged, it was clear that the event needed to be expanded. As anyone who was at the event saw, the event space was PACKED and without the additional ballroom space, the event would not have been the huge success that it clearly was.