One week ago, we praised the decision of the Campus Activities Team to end NovaFest and limit the format of Villanova’s main spring social event to solely a concert. But that was before we had the whole story.
We praised CAT for pooling student development resources to attract a big-name act to the concert. CAT reallocated money from other, less-attended events and poured its resources into its main event. Though it makes sense to defund less popular programming, money should not have been taken from proposals that would have attracted a great number of students.
We now know that SGA’s representative on the NovaFest committee, which convened last October, proposed just such an alternative. The idea was a controlled and regulated outdoor event to replace last year’s WestFest. Alcohol would be served to those wearing wristbands indicating they were of age. That event would have preserved the best part of last year’s WestFest: an opportunity for the entire school to socialize together outdoors on a beautiful spring day.
Instead, the money that could have financed the newly proposed outdoor event was allocated to CAT’s spring concert.
Though we were pleased a big-name band was booked to play on campus, a $30/ticket indoor concert on campus is not a replacement for the outdoor WestFest activites. Many seniors uninterested in attending the concert are unlikely even to stay on campus after their Friday classes.
The decision by the administration to crack down on the unsanctioned activities is regrettable, but understandable.
Because the University has foreknowledge of the event, they are liable for any injuries or damages that occur, and they are obligated by Pennsylvania law to intercede.
A critical part of the Campus Master Plan of University President Rev. Peter Donohue, O.S.A.’s includes working with neighbors to minimize the disruption and noise caused by on-campus events, and WestFest underminded this effort.
Though it saddens us that there will no longer be an event such as NovaFest where the entire student body socializes together, we cannot fault the administration for doing what is in the best interests of the University as a whole.
It is important, however, that the University make every effort to inform students that it is serious about enforcement of drinking violations this year if it wants to be successful.Though they may be reluctant to admit it, the precedent of turning a blind eye to WestFest has been set. The University has a responsibility to clearly communicate with students that this year’s activities will be more heavily regulated.
Most importantly, we appreciate the efforts of organizations like CAT that sought significant student input into the process of deciding whom to invite to perform at the concert. Unfortunately, the student body as a whole was not similarly consulted as to whether they prefered an outdoor event to the single, expensive indoor concert that will be held instead.
We hope that in future years more student input will be considered in the decision making process.