King’s students missed out on an annual tradition last night because breaking even just wasn’t in the cards.
The Young Alexandra Society (YAS) announced on Jan. 14 that it was going to cancel their yearly charity ball for the 2013-2014 school year, just four days before the event was to take place.
“Some bad news,” read the announcement on the society’s Facebook page. “We really wanted to have YAS Ball this year, but unfortunately due to financial issues and uncertainty about numbers, we’ve had to cancel it.”
After selling only a handful of tickets by Monday morning, the society executive sat down with King’s Students’ Union (KSU) executives to determine the best course of action.
“Had we put on the event this year there was enormous potential to not have a YAS Ball in future years,” explained Emily Watson, the treasurer of the society.
With a ball that can cost upwards of $11,000 and a 27-year tradition on the line, the decision to dismiss it for the year was not an easy one. The planning for the ball starts in November each year, with only a short amount of time to book bands, the ballroom, and find sound equipment.
“Even saying $10,000 or $11,000 is being positive,” said Watson on the final cost of the ball. “Cancelling is significantly less expensive than putting it on.”
If the ball had continued, the society would have been on the hook for money from room bookings and sound equipment, as well as the bands and security. The Westin Hotel, the planned venue, also has a drink quota, meaning that if not enough drinks were purchased YAS would have owed extra money.
“For us to put on the ball, we not only would have been putting our bank account in severe jeopardy, but the KSU as well,” said Watson. As a ratified society, their debt is backed by the student union.
Alex Bryant, KSU financial vice-president, clarified the financial difficulties.
“We realized very quickly that it would be a surprise if they broke even,” Bryant said. “Based on estimates from YAS about attendance, we didn’t expect it to happen. It could have left YAS with no money in the bank and bills for the union to pick up out of pocket.”
YAS has not been able to calculate the costs they owe for cancelling last minute. However, Watson said the number is above $1,000. The society still has to pay off ballroom deposits for the Westin Hotel, plus a last-minute cancellation fee.
To avoid the tradition being lost, the society will focus on getting feedback about the ball to find out how they can improve attendance for next year’s charity event.
Watson said the society will not reschedule the ball, but they will be holding other charity events this year.
“YAS is a charity ball,” she added. “A portion of the money is supposed to be donated to charity and that couldn’t have happened this year.”
Beginning as a Valentine’s Day ball held on Feb. 14, the Young Alexandra Society Ball has been a King’s tradition since 1986.