Lights, Ferris wheels, bumper cars, street performers, and a firework show are all components of MSU President Teddy Saull’s re-imagined year-end celebration.

Saull has taken in feedback from McMaster students through one-on-one conversations, focus groups, and surveys, and has returned with a new idea that he presented at the Student Representative Assembly on Jan. 25.

“The idea here is kind of like a carnival-meets-buskerfest-meets-beautiful-fair, but the essence of this thing is the lighting,” said Saull during his presentation. “You’re going to walk onto campus, pretty much no matter where you come on […] you’re going to see this glowing, magnetic event happening and you’re going to say ‘oh I want to go there, I hope it’s free,’ and it is.”

The festival of lights is very different from the original plan – there will be no concert, or cost to students.

The event will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. on April 8, the last day of classes, and will stretch from Mary Keyes to Mills Library.

Near Mary Keyes, there will be a Ferris wheel and merry-go-round, as well as carnival games. Two DJs – one playing modern pop and the other old school dance music – will be located outside, while inside Bridges Café will host an acoustic coffeehouse. At the Sport Hall, the Student Success Centre will be hosting a keynote speaker. Given the $30,000 budget, the speaker will likely be a big name.

Outside of Mills Library will be four McMaster bands playing throughout the night, as well as bumper cars and carnival food.

Various professional buskers will be providing entertainment, and Saull will be working with students from McMaster’s Marching Band, juggling club, and breakdancing club to showcase their skills as well.

The event will end with a fireworks show, a feature voted for by over 60 percent of respondents to Saull’s survey.

“We want this to be an event that everyone can see themselves in,” said Saull.

The cost of the new year-end celebration is also lower than his initial proposal. The re-imagined celebration will cost up to $116,000, in comparison to the original $215,000 proposed allocation.

There will also be 2,000 free parking spaces for commuting students, a donation from the university for the event.

Saull has already raised over $86,000, with the two main contributors being the Alumni Association and the Student Success Centre. The MSU will contribute up to $40,000, depending on if the motion is passed at the next SRA meeting on Feb. 8.

At the meeting, Saull also addressed the earlier criticisms that the money could be better spent.

“I absolutely agree that there are other important things for this organization to spend money on, but I don’t think this is or ever will be an either-or situation. So agreeing to try to pull of a year-end event does not mean that we also can’t fund x, y, and z projects,” he said, citing the Student Life Enhancement Fund as one way to fund important projects.   

“This is not a one-off thing,” said Saull. “The financial commitment we’ve received from our major partners – Alumni [Association], Student Success [Centre] – this is something they want to include and move forward with.”

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