Dallas Year: Big events at a small cost

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Meaghan Colvin
A&E Editor

Students wait in Haggar for tickets
When Dallas Year offered $10 tickets to a Maroon 5 concert, the line of students trying to snag one overflowed from the SALC and through Haggar.

The Dallas Year Program began selling Maroon 5 concert tickets at 9 a.m. Monday morning. Tickets were sold and gone in less than thirty minutes.

That Monday morning started even earlier for the line of University of Dallas undergraduates, a line that meandered all around Haggar Center. Students had been waiting hours beforehand, some standing outside the SALC as early as 6:20 a.m.

Freshman Christina Castillo was one of those early birds who caught the worm. “I’m excited to be seeing Maroon 5. This will be my first Dallas Year event and my very first concert,” she said.

Freshman Candace Langsfield was also one of those students near the front, though she worried that tickets had already sold out. “I’ve been here since 7:15 this morning. I wish I’d come earlier. I seriously thought about spending the night in Haggar.”

Langsfield, however, was one of the lucky ones. Only the first 44 students were fortunate enough to purchase those golden tickets. Half of those tickets were reserved for freshmen, and the rest were distributed amongst the upperclassmen. The majority of the line dispersed, disappointed and without tickets. Even so, with tickets priced at $10 per person, no wonder so many students turned out.

Whether you were able to snag a ticket or not, make sure to get involved and get off campus with the other Dallas Year events happening during this fall semester, from the State Fair of Texas in October to the Tomato Battle in mid-November. Check out Dallas Year events and DFW Resources by going to www.udallas.edu/universitylife/studentlife/activity/dallasyear.

While students may have some sense of what Dallas Year is, not many are aware of the thought, the work and the research that goes into the program. Much of this behind-the-scenes organization must be attributed to senior Grace Ballor, Programming Intern, whose work from the past school year made “DY” the UD Program of the Year (2010-2011). Through Ballor’s efforts to revamp the program, Dallas Year offers a variety of events for all students to enjoy.

MC: For those who haven’t checked out the website or haven’t seen flyers posted around campus, what exactly is Dallas Year?

GB: Dallas Year is the school’s belief that each person should be well rounded; as a result, each student should explore the Dallas-Forth Worth Metroplex. This schoolcommits to molding well-rounded students via the Core, but UD also commits to molding well-rounded individuals, and Dallas Year is one manifestation of that. We have 10 events happening this semester and five that we may add in, depending on our funds.

MC: Who can participate in Dallas Year?

GB: All undergraduate students attending the University of Dallas may participate. However, if there are extra tickets remaining three days prior to a particular event, Dallas Year invites faculty, staff, alumni and graduate students to purchase tickets. Dallas Year limits itself to the undergraduate students because undergraduates pay a comprehensive fee that goes toward Dallas Year. Not many students realize it, but we are paying full price for these tickets.  Dallas Year is just paying the difference. For instance, a ticket for Medieval Times costs $65, but each student only pays $10. As a result, the school is paying $55 per student. That’s how dedicated we are to the commitment of a well-rounded student.

MC: That being said, what is the highest amount that a student would have to pay?

GB: This semester, I’ve made the commitment that no event will exceed $10.

MC: How do you go about choosing events for the students?

GB: The surveys help. I value feedback from the students; something that I like to do is simply strike up a conversation with students. I think it’s an asset to myself and to Dallas Year that I am an undergraduate student because DY coordinators in the past have been staff members or graduates, and they aren’t necessarily able to connect with the students and what they want. Basically, I’m planning these events for my friends, and it’s an honor for me to do so. That being said, my friends also hold me accountable. It’s great to have students who are comfortable enough to approach me and express their concerns.

MC: What were and are your goals for Dallas Year?

GB: Going into the job last year, I had two primary goals. The first was to increase the number of tickets so that more students could participate in these events. My second objective was to increase the variety of events. I wanted to include more undergraduate students, so I created surveys to see what the students wanted. We have a variety of events – sporting functions, cooking classes, adventure outings – so that every student attending UD can get involved.

MC: You also include a DFW Resource page on the Dallas website, one that includes your favorite hot spots around town.

GB: I love traveling and other cultures. I attribute this to my parents, who have always wanted me to get out and explore. In return, I wanted to help others go out and try new things.  I first thought that Texas was a one-dimensional place, but I decided to make a commitment to explore the DFW area as often as possible. I found a wealth of resources, things that I never would have associated with Texas. Dallas is a much more cosmopolitan place and a miniature melting pot of culture.

MC: Were you hoping to make any technological adjustments for Dallas Year?

GB: The SALC (including Dallas Year, SPUD and SG) has decided to implement a closed-circuit TV system, similar to those in the cafeteria and Rathskeller. The SALC will be creating and broadcasting electronic announcements and commercials. They will be running them on TVs in Haggar. This system will complement, not replace, the paper banners. The SALC is also implementing a new system, similar to one used by the library, in which we will scan the students’ ID cards in order to obtain the information necessary to sell them tickets to an event. Students will still pay by cash or check, but the card-scanning system should improve the accuracy and efficiency of the ticket sales process.

MC: Any final thoughts on Dallas Year?

GB: Over the summer, I conducted research studies to find the best way to sell tickets. I got in contact with over 30 schools and heard back from 15 schools. I did not learn how to sell tickets, but I did learn something else. Of all the schools that responded, not a single one had a program that encouraged students to get off campus. None have programs like Dallas Year endorsed by the schools.

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