July 13, 2018

Dear Students,

Despite our considerable efforts, we regret to inform you that the 2018-19 Fall Kickoff Concert will not be taking place on Burnaby Campus this year.

Our dedicated team of organizers for this event have been working tirelessly to negotiate with important stakeholders regarding the concert, most significant among them being SFU’s administration. During the planning process for this event, the SFSS and SFU shared a commitment to developing an event plan that had student safety as the first priority. The student society made a number of changes to the way we usually hold the event – including an increased security and medical presence, focusing our ticket sales more exclusively on the SFU student community, and a reduction in total attendees. These changes, while greatly limiting the revenue that the SFSS might generate from this concert, we felt were important in order to ensure a safe environment. After all, the point of the concert is not to make money – the point is to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for students.

Regardless of the changes we made to the model, we ran into considerable challenges in our conversations with SFU. We were given notice that our request for the date of the concert – Friday, September 21st – had been “pencilled in”. We made the request for this date in the first planning meeting we held with SFU on June 7th. On Monday, July 9th, we were informed that another event had been approved for September 21st, displacing the largest student-focused event of the year. No further rationale for this decision has been given – regardless of our request – nor has any information been provided regarding the event that was prioritized. We were offered the alternative date of Thursday, September 20th, and due to the detriment that a Thursday night concert would have on attendance and on concert experience, we are unable to hold the concert at SFU this year. We did suggest to SFU that Friday, September 28th may also be feasible, but we were told that this date was also not available to us.

Cancelling the largest, most-anticipated student event on campus was not an easy decision to make, but we really feel that we had no other reasonable choice.  For four consecutive years, student survey results from SFU have shown that student engagement and student life on this campus are the greatest areas of concern. Examples such as this are a clear indication of why that might be the case. We sincerely hope that the event that SFU has planned on September 21st that “conflicts” with the concert brings the same type of student engagement that we know the concert would have provided.

We regret that your student experience will simply not be the same this year. We will be working hard to find some other solutions. Thank you for your patience.

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