ASEWU to consider students who vote for priority seating for hip hop concert

Editor’s note: According to Michele Munson of Student Life Accounting, the ASEWU does not have “surplus” funding. “Surplus” refers to either a rollover from the previous year or more money than initially granted.

Popular “Thrift Shop” rap artist Macklemore could be coming to EWU as soon as this spring.

The ASEWU is considering an idea that would reward students who vote in the upcoming election with choice seating at a Macklemore concert. In fact, $5,000 of student government elections funds would help cover concert costs.

The “Macklemore Proposal,” presented to the Services and Activities Fee Committee Dec. 7, cited poor voter turnout in recent years for the proposed budget of $58,250. They hope to use this money to bring Macklemore to Reese Court for a concert either May 29 or May 30. Up to $50,000 of that budget, which includes the ASEWU election money, would go directly to the performers.

The $5,000 from the ASEWU elections budget would go towards things like the booking agent, security and equipment rental. Michele Munson, certified public accountant and supervisor of student accounting, said that because the ASEWU has seen a surplus in good management of funding this year, the elections budget may go toward the event.

Travis Hughes

Travis Hughes

Former Director of Elections and present Student Services Representative Travis Hughes said in his proposal, “As the data reflects, traditional measures have failed to create any kind of lasting impact on voter turnout; now is the time to try new and innovative measures to increase involvement. … It is time to implement action that finds overwhelming enthusiasm in the student body; this is the perfectly appropriate and most elegant venue.”

Hughes said that at the Dec. 11 Student and Activities Committee meeting, the proposal was approved unanimously by both student and faculty members of the committee. However, no money has yet to be spent on the endeavor. Hughes added that he is setting up initial plans on how to spend the money allocated to the event. He said that Student Activities Involvement and Leadership department has been communicating with Macklemore’s agents about logistics such as equipment availability and security detail requirements.

At this point, EWU and Macklemore are at a verbal agreement. No formal contracts have been signed.

Over the past few years, ASEWU election voter turnout has been comparatively low. The national average voter turnout in four-year university student government elections is just over 20 percent.

During the 2010 ASEWU elections, only 6 percent of Eastern students voted. In 2011, turnout rose just 1 percent. Last year, turnout almost doubled to 13.6 percent.

To help improve voter turnout this year, the Office of Information Technology will track everyone who votes by their student ID numbers. Those who vote get priority seating if they show up at the designated time with their EWU ID cards.

Connor Gregg

Connor Gregg

“On the day of the concert, students who voted would simply bring their ID card to the venue at a designated time before general admission,” the proposal states. After a set time, seating would then be open to all EWU students by presenting their student ID card. It is a system much like if you were to attend a home EWU football game.

According to Hughes’s proposal, this system would ensure that only EWU students attend and would encourage student participation in the voting process without resorting to bribery.

Present Director of Elections Connor Gregg stated that he would present the same proposal his predecessor had presented to the Services and Activities Fee Committee without alteration. He said the event was a way to give the students a fun concert, but also a great way to show student involvement and promote elections as a whole.

Hughes said that he is committed to serving the wants and needs of the students.

Gregg said that Hughes has made great strides with this project and that he wanted to assist in any way possible. Gregg also said that he wanted to show how student involvement and interest in student elections is necessary.

Take our poll about funding Macklemore here.