AUSA are cancelling this year’s ball.
AUSA’s Engagement Vice-President Emily McDonald says the decision to cancel the annual ball – which had already been booked in with Shed 10 for later this year – was made as part of the executive’s wider plan.
The executive want to focus on building relationships between AUSA and faculty organisations, like the law school’s AULSS, arts school’s ASO, and engineering school’s AUES, and see the cancellation of the ball as one means of achieving this. McDonald says past AUSA executives have often inadvertently competed with these organisations by throwing events similar to theirs at similar times. McDonald says the last two AUSA balls are a particularly good example of this. Both of them were held in August (rather than the usual May), around the same time as other faculty balls. McDonald says the scheduling caused unnecessary conflict, as students were torn between attending their faculty ball or attending AUSA’s. “You have students who possibly want to go to two balls a year,” McDonald says, “but why would they want to go to two when they’re in the same kind of two or three weeks?”
McDonald says it makes much more sense to divert the manpower and money spent on AUSA’s ball towards “providing support” for faculty organisations . “We’re having a real focus this year on working with clubs, rather than against them,” says McDonald. This extends to helping each faculty throw the best ball it can.
There are benefits to AUSA’s approach. For one, it means students have the opportunity to attend more personalised balls. “There’s all these different cultures around the university… [the cultures are] different for science, different for arts”, McDonald says – having one homogenised ball detracts from the fun of revelling in your faculties particular culture. For another thing, supporting the faculty balls means a better outcome for students. AUSA and faculties aren’t forced to squabble over the same pool of students, meaning better attendance, and the extra time, money, and effort pooled into each faculty ball should make for a better experience.
However, Craccum remains unconvinced it’s all good news. Craccum understands AUSA lost a sizeable deposit on their Shed 10 booking. When asked how much was lost, McDonald declined to comment, saying she isn’t allowed “to get into anything money-wise”. McDonald was also unable to answer why the deposit was lost, other than to say that it was a result of the cancellation of the ball. Craccum is unsure why AUSA would agree to hire a venue (and forfeit their deposit) if the organisation always intended to support faculty balls. Moreover, when asked what support would be given to clubs, Craccum was told AUSA could not provide comment at this time. All this leads Craccum to believe that the cancellation was less planned-decision than accidental-hiccup.
Having said that, Craccum remains hopeful that AUSA’s collaborative approach will mean better offerings for students.