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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Family Weekend comes with a price tag

Steven Spooner

Family Weekend executive director Courtney Olds talks to student government member in the ASUA on Wednesday, Oct. 12. As Family Weekend approaches, the office is busy with planning and preparations.

Students and their respective families will come together this weekend for the 2016 edition of UA Family Weekend. But for the university, hosting the event is a monetary balancing act between the cost of being a good host and creating an event that will pay for itself.

Family Weekend Executive Director Courtney Olds, a computer science junior, said that Family Weekend operates from a zero base, meaning they don’t start with any money. All their revenue comes from sales and organizers aim simply to break even each year. If there is a profit, it goes to correcting the previous year’s debt or to next year’s expenses.

This year’s event is projected to cost about $25,000, according to Family Weekend logistics director Madeline Melichar, a biosystems engineering sophomore.

“We try to get as much out of the budget as we can,” Olds said. “We usually break even, barring weather expenses.”

Last year, due to the 100-degree temperatures, Family Weekend accrued a small debt when they spent extra on coolers to ensure people were comfortable and safe.

“Hopefully, there are no unseen weather expenses this year,” Olds said.

Melichar said that the two biggest forms of revenue this year will be the t-shirt sales and the Friday barbecue. Tickets to the barbecue cost $15, which is a $2 profit for Family Weekend.

“We want people to really experience what we’re offering,” Melichar said. “But we’re really trying to make it worth the money.”

This year, Melichar said there’s a focus on “revamping” the event to keep families coming back and to address last year’s feedback that the events were too focused on younger children, with not enough events for older family members.

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“We’re doing new things this year, so we’re okay with spending more,” Melichar said.

The biggest expenses? Catering from the Student Unions, printing t-shirts and creating signage so people know where to go, according to Olds.

One new addition is the option for families to purchase a one-exit parking pass for Highland Avenue Parking Garage on Friday. The passes will cost $10, available the day of.

“We’re trying to maximize parking passes, because it’s really very convenient for parents,” Melichar said. “People have peace of mind knowing they have parking.”

The passes could present another big form of revenue, so next year, Melichar said they hope to expand to other garages as well as offer the passes as part of pre-sale packages.

RELATED: Family Weekend comes with a price tag

While revenue is important, it’s certainly not the main focus of the weekend. Melichar pointed out that, while the Fun Run event will generate a lot of money, they’re choosing to donate it all to the UA Campus Pantry.

“[Family Weekend] is an event we really put on at our own expense,” Melichar said.

She said in the end, the event is all about showing parents the campus, giving prospective students an idea of what the UA is about and making sure everyone has fun.

Follow Marissa Heffernan on Twitter.

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