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A lot of entertainment makes its way to Indiana University of Pennsylvania throughout the year. Although the various concerts are presented for the student body’s benefit, is the student body getting the kinds of acts that it really wants to see?
A survey distributed by The Entertainment Network, which asks students to list the artists they’d like to see perform at IUP, aims to ensure that this is the case.
TEN provides various student-oriented activities for IUP students to get involved and release built-up stress. This means that TEN, along with aid from the Black Emphasis Committee, is responsible for the selection of campus entertainment.
In recent years, artists like Wiz Khalifa, Wale, B.o.B and Tyga have performed at IUP’s annual homecoming concert to sold-out houses, which could mean that the survey works.
But regardless of what acts TEN and the BEC choose, the student body is still partially responsible for the events’ funding and decisions.
Whether students realize it or not, part of their $331.50 activity fee goes to the homecoming concert performers and other small venue performances throughout the school year.
In addition to the events and the reduced ticket pricing for students, part of the flat fee goes to TEN executive board members for their bi-weekly stipends.
Despite the fact that not all students plan to or even wish to attend the concerts, their money is still due to the university and given to the Student Cooperative Association annually.
Aaron Hogue (freshman, safety sciences) said he wonders why the student body isn’t more involved with the selection process.
“If I am paying money towards the concerts,” Hogue said, “why do I not have more of a say in who is performing?”
This has been addressed by TEN, which is the reason that survey links are emailed to every student once or twice a year by the IUP surveying tool, Qualtrics, according to Zach Clark, director of student activities and assessments.
“Campuswide surveys and polls are taken to help determine the sense of who IUP wants to see perform, and this formal data helps decide the performers for the larger shows,” Clark said.
The surveys average a 15 percent response rate from students. According to Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s official website, there were about 15,663 students enrolled as of fall of 2012 on campus.
Despite that, only around 2,349 students’ voices were heard.
The largest portion of fee-paying students aren’t contributing to the vote on who plays in the concerts.
Compare that response rate to this year’s 1,380 collective students who voted for Crimson court and in the Student Governemnt Association election.
David Stewart (junior, health and physical education) says that he has taken TEN’s survey and recalls its accessibility.
“The surveys are easily accessible and quick to complete,” Stewart said. “The surveys contain multiple-choice questions and probably take around five minutes to finish.”
Sam Barker, TEN’s director of program services, said that the surveys are invaluable tools and that, although all student responses are considered, some of the requested performers are acts that TEN “just can’t afford to do.”
“Although the artists that students wish to see are a part of these lists, they are not always available on the date of the show and at a price that is in the TEN budget,” Barker said.
“Sometimes, artists are touring during this time period or are just not performing at universities at this time.”
Along with TEN conducting its own surveys from students, it also uses a nationally known polling process called Poll Star.
“Poll Star gathers ticket sales and data from many shows throughout the year and helps venues determine who is popular and relevant and who is not,” said Clark.
After all of the information is collected by Poll Star and after considering IUP student responses from media like Facebook and Twitter, a list is compiled of potential artists to contact for performing.
Whether the entertainment that TEN, the BEC and the Co-Op provide is of interest to a student or not, he or she is still paying for it and he or she does have a say, however limited that say may be.