‘Cirque’ party exceeds allotted UOFC funds

Elis attending Sunday night’s Cirque du Monde party on Old Campus got a taste of Western European food, Middle Eastern dance and East Asian martial arts. But they could have benefited from some Southern California weather.

“If I could have changed one thing, I would have changed the weather,” event manager Imran Bhaloo ’10 said.

Members of the Yale Anti-Gravity Society juggle at Saturday night’s Cirque du Monde. The UOFC will cover the $2,000 by which this one of three 5K events went over budget.
Grant Smith
Members of the Yale Anti-Gravity Society juggle at Saturday night’s Cirque du Monde. The UOFC will cover the $2,000 by which this one of three 5K events went over budget.

While Cirque du Monde’s price tag was about $2,000 over budget, Undergraduate Organization Funding Committee officials said the overrun resulted from unforeseeable administrative expenses such as security and event staff. The UOFC will not force the event’s organizers to cover the extra expenses, which in future will be covered through planned budget allowances that will complement the base amount $5,000, officials said.

Ten cultural groups, including the International Students Organization, the Yale African Students Association and the South Asian Society, collaborated to organize the event.

Organizers said they were pleased with the event’s turnout, which they estimate by total admission fees to have been roughly 500 at its peak during a series of cultural performances. But students involved and students attending said Saturday night’s weather — in the mid-thirties — dampened attendance during the event’s later hours.

Saturday night’s event was the first of three events that will be held this year under the UOFC’s 5K program, which awards coalitions of student groups $5,000 to plan and put on campus-wide events.

Organizers and students said by the time the dance party portion of the five-hour event began, temperatures had dropped so low that they had a noticeable impact on the party’s attendance. But event treasurer Prerna Sekhri ’10 said she had been pleased with the Cirque’s turnout up to that point, given the time at which it took place on Saturday night.

“We had 500 people out there between 7 and 9 to see the cultural groups perform,” she said. “That’s when people are usually pre-gaming. There was no alcohol at this event — it was completely sober.”

Students watched performances by the Yale Bellydance Society, the Yale Anti-Gravity Society, the Yale Ballroom Club and numerous other cultural groups. Between acts, students could frequent regional booths representing Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas set up in each corner of the tent.

Event organizers said the party ran roughly $2,000 over the budget of $5,000 allotted by the UOFC because of unforeseen administrative and security costs. While the ISO had experience paying Yale Police Department officers to cover parties in the past, the group was unprepared for the six officers the University required it to have on hand for the event, Sekhri said.

In addition, Bhaloo said the event’s size also required the organizers to retain Contemporary Services — an events-services and crowd-management firm hired for many University events — which billed about $1,000 for the evening.

Between these two unforeseen expenditures, along with rental fees for the tent and expenditures on food and publicity, Bhaloo said the party tab ended up running close to $7,000.

UOFC Chair Joshua Tan ’09 said the groups will not be penalized for exceeding their budget.

As a result, Tan said, the UOFC will automatically pay for security, event staff and custodial services at all future UOFC 5K events.

Most students interviewed said they enjoyed the event, although some — like Molly Silverstein ’11 — said the party did not live up to the extensive publicity for the event.

“I was expecting more for all the hype,” Silverstein said. “And it was really cold.”

In past years, Tan said the UOFC only held two competitions, but because of positive student response to last year’s two 5K parties, the UOFC decided to expand the program to include three such events.

Today is the deadline for student groups to submit event proposals for the second 5K event.

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