Uncategorized | 12:12 am | April 15, 2008 | By Zach Marks

Bank of America Presents Spring Fling: A modest proposal from YSAC candidates…and a modest proposal of my own

By Zach Marks

Updated at 2:48 a.m.

In a year of such hotly contested YCC elections, namely a fierce presidential race between three candidates with an exceptional number of Facebook friends, I’ve been a bit surprised to find my inbox being filled with more plugs for YSAC candidates than for any other position. Feels like every other e-mail is telling me why Colin Leatherbury is so hot right now – he got today’s YDN endorsement – or why Jon Terenzetti deserves to be the shortest male to ever serve on the e-board. Leatherbury and Terenzetti are the insiders of this race: Leatherbury was Spring Fling co-chair and Terenzetti served as a YSAC representative from Davenport.

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That’s naughty, Colin.

But the two outsiders deserve major attention too. Kristian Henderson’s resume impresses me more than any candidate in this race. Leatherbury got Sean Kingston, The Roots and Jimmy Eat World to come for Spring Fling, but Henderson got Lupe Fiasco. Not only is Lupe a hotter act than all three Spring Fling artists combined, Henderson did this essentially on her own initiative as head planner of the three-day Black Solidarity Conference in early March, whereas Spring Fling is something that YSAC throws every year. That’s not taking away from Leatherbury: running Spring Fling is incredibly challenging and Leatherbury seems to be doing all the right things so far. But Yale sets aside a budget for YSAC to throw a concert every year while Henderson had to raise over $100,000 from corporate sponsors to cover the cost of the conference, which brought over 1,000 students from campuses around the country to hear an impressive list of speakers, including Tavis Smiley and Gov. (then Lt. Gov.) David Paterson of New York.

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Kristian hopes bringing Lupe to Yale will help her kick, push, kick, push her way to victory.

The other outsider of the race, Travis Long, is also worth checking out if for no other reason than his ridiculous rhetoric:

Since the seasoned age of 17, I have been on Wall Street and through that experience I was able to establish connections with extraordinary people at the Royal Bank of Canada, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan-Chase, and through them I was able to meet exceptional politicians, scholars, entertainers, and some well-established bankers through forums like: Crisis Pipeline, a successful event held in the Chelsea Piers section of Manhattan. So, what does this mean? It means I may not know Chris Brown or Mariah Carey, but I do know the people that can bring them in because in America, MONEY TALKS…and although I barely have enough money in the bank to buy books, I know people who have the power to DO THE TALKING!

This idea of bringing in outside funding for YSAC activities has been voiced by some of Long’s opponents as well. Prob is, according to YCC President Rebecca Taber, there isn’t all that much outside funding knocking to come in. Apparently YSAC tried to sell out this year, but there just isn’t that much interest in the corporate world for the naming rights to Spring Fling. You could probably get Red Bull to throw cans into the crowd or maybe even set up a Jaeger bomb station, but Wachovia’s not gonna subsidize Jay-Z just for the prospect of opening a few checking accounts.

Anyway, this should be an interesting race to watch, with each candidate’s base of support in different circles on campus. Jon Terenzetti’s Facebook group is in the lead with 82 members, followed by Travis Long’s which has 72, Kristian Henderson’s 69 and Colin Leatherbury’s 33, a surprisingly low showing for the race’s closest thing to an incumbent. Then again, Taber didn’t even make a Facebook group last year and she kicked my ass.

Bring back Lupe!

Update: I’ve been enjoying the e-mails for this race. I just received one from Shawn Hickman – a friend of mine from the Student Ambassador program, a sick dancer in Rhythmic Blue (they have a show this weekend), and co-president of the Black Student Alliance (his e-mail signature reminds us that that’s not all he does) – endorsing Travis Long. This is interesting in part because Hickman has served on the BSAY board with Kristian Henderson. The only reason I really bothered with this update, though, was that the e-mail was a bit misinformed (can an e-mail be misinformed? no, but i don’t want to call Hickman out like that). Hickman mentions that Long “plans to contact top-artists during the summer to gage how much they will cost, while making a full effort to assemble a strong Student Activities Committee.” There hasn’t been a single YSAC Chair who hasn’t done this. Starting in June will not bring Kanye to Yale. Then came a passage that left me scratching my head:

Here’s a little interesting fact to get Toni Morrison to give a guest speech, it costs approximately $50,000.  Considering this fact, imagine how much it would cost to contract a headliner like Jay-Z or the Dave Matthews Band!  The fact of the matter is, for too long YSAC has been constrained by a $110,000 budget.  Imagine running all of the events on campus in addition to bringing in Jay-z which would cost around $75,000 if he’s feeling generous, on only $110,000!  That would be more than a stretch!

The fact of the matter is this: You need someone who is financially savy and has the deal-making skills necessary to persuade someone like Jay-z into lowering his fee, while augmenting the YSAC Fund through corporate sponsorship. Travis Long’s track record on Wall Street, and his strategic plan for incorporating the best event-coordinators on campus into the Yale Students Activities Committee, more than qualifies him for the job, a job that he guarantees to devote at least 4 hours a day to.

I’m sure Travis has had some ridiculous internships and met crazy i-bankers, but his “track record on Wall Street” will not get artists to lower their fees. Jay-Z will never feel “generous” enough to give a show at Yale for $75,000.

Ooo, another update: Kristian Henderson just added me as a friend. OMG should I accept? Too soon? Should I wait? I should wait. I can’t wait! OMG!

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