by Gillian Puma, Staff Writer
The Spring Fest event that would have been held on April 4 in Draddy Gymnasium has officially been cancelled in response to COVID-19. Spring Fest getting cancelled isn’t the only change that has occurred to the Manhattan College campus over the past few weeks, as students have officially moved out of the residence halls, and classes have moved to an online platform for the rest of the Spring semester.
Spring Fest was going to be set up differently this year compared to other years. Instead of one day, the celebration was going to extend into two days. Saturday students would enjoy activities and music on the quad. Students would have the option to see The Fray’s Isaac Slade perform in Draddy Gymnasium, followed by food trucks in the Jasper parking lot when the concert was over. Day two of Spring Fest was going to be a special surprise provided by the student government.
“We bought Yankee tickets for the student body and were planning on giving them out that Saturday,” V.P. of Social Life GinaMarie Napoli shared. “The student government board and myself thought it was a great idea to make spring fest two days instead of just one,” she said.
If students didn’t want to attend the concert, they would also have the option to attend a Yankee game the day after the concert.
Executive Director of Student Engagement, John Bennett, also shared his input on the sudden cancellation of the event. A lot of money was lost in planning the event, considering the changes were so sudden.
“To speak on the budget aspect, a lot was already spent on the weekend,” Bennett said. “From agent fees to the rental of the stage, speakers and the like which were being kept in a warehouse for us already, all those sorts of things were already paid for,” he said.
The Yankee tickets were also already paid for, and the Yankee season has been put on hold in response to COVID-19.
“Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much discussion on Spring Fest,” said Student Body President Kaylyn Atkins.
However there has been discussion on making up the event. Atkins said, “I have been in contact with John Bennett and Student Engagement [in addition to the Division of Student Life] has expressed that they are open to discussing if we want to put forth efforts to enhance Quadchella or next year’s Spring Fest.”
The future of Spring Fest and how it will be “made up” will not be in the hands of the current student government board. “Spring Fest artist for next year definitely does not have to be Isaac Slade,” Atkins said. “That will be up to the opinions of the student body and next year’s student government executive board and assembly,” she said.
While there hasn’t been a response from Slade himself on the cancellation of the event, Bennett was in contact with his agency.
“Because this is really a worldwide issue and a mandate regarding crowds and the like, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise the cancellation,” Bennett said. “It’s not like we woke up one morning and had a change of heart and wanted to disinvite him. We’re not wed to him in the future by any means either,” he said.
Students will also not be refunded for the event, as it is free to students unless you invite guests from off-campus. “We never charge students to attend Spring Fest,” Bennett said. “We are always really conscious of keeping on-campus events free for students to just show up and attend without having to sign up so they feel welcomed within their own,” he said.
There has been disappointment expressed between student government and student engagement in response to the sudden cancellation of the event.
“I would just like to personally thank GinaMarie and the rest of the Social Life Committee for all of their hard work put into this event,” Atkins said. “There are so many student leaders who were also planning other events, and I want to let them know that it is okay to grieve or be sad about lost memories,” she said.
Bennett also shared his emotion towards the students disappointment, as he is a Manhattan College alumni.
“We understand the disappointment completely and will do everything in our power to make sure we do something in consultation with the student leadership that makes people happy,” he said. “From a Student Engagement perspective, making students happy and keeping them engaged is our goal. We’re certainly trying to provide as many of our services as possible right now to keep that going,” Bennett said.