SciFormal considers revamp

Significant overspending this year could mean a change in structure

SciFormal committee is considering changing the structure of the event.
SciFormal committee is considering changing the structure of the event.

This year’s Engineering Society (EngSoc) Science Formal went overbudget, pushing the Science Formal Committee to consider changing the event’s structure in the future.

This year, the event went forward as planned; however, significant overspending affected the planning process, forcing the committee to cut building materials and alter the DJ booth setup. Final expenses for the event haven’t yet been calculated. Despite this, the Committee is working to find additional donations and streamline the event’s overall costs.

Engineering students attending the event must complete 40 volunteer hours to design and build a main structure within Grant Hall, which is unveiled at an open house before the event.

Each year’s SciFormal has a theme which corresponds with the decorations and structure. This year’s theme was “Alice in Wonderland”.

Lauren Atkins, the communications chair for the Science Formal Committee, said this year’s three-storey Queen of Hearts castle was the largest structure the event has ever seen.

“[It was] the biggest in history,” Atkins, Sci ’14, said. She said the administration is likely to restrict the size of the structure in the future, and that the committee may look into changing venues.

“In future years they could consider putting it into a different venue, because class sizes are getting bigger,” she said.

Grant Hall was too small to seat the entire fourth-yearengineering class including their dates, she said.

The cuts they made, according to an email SciFormal convener Stephanie Van Raay sent out to the Engineering Class of 2014, led to a simpler DJ booth and a restructure in Grant Hall.

No changes were made to the food provided or decorations for the event, according to EngSoc President Emily Fleck.

“No major cuts were made from food because we did not want to compromise the safety of an event that does involve drinking,” she told the Journal via email.

Fleck said the budget problems were mostly due to a larger structural setup in Grant Hall and unforeseen costs such as extra fire safety precautions and administrative expenses.

The current budget deficit has not yet been calculated, she said, due to several last-minute donations and additional bills for the event, such as the rent for Grant Hall and cleaning bill. The society recently shifted SciFormal control under the EngSoc Board of Directors, she said, which increased the cost of the event.

“In this change there has been a shift to pay for the resources that they use like the bookkeeper, banking, General Manager, etc.,” Fleck said.

She said the Board of Directors also approved the budget before the changes in construction costs had been accounted for, which caused discrepancies.

Other factors that increased the costs included the purchase of fire safety products and a new “line system”, which let students see whether tables were available in Grant Hall using light-up plastic pucks, she said.

“It allowed for attendees who were in Kingston Hall and could not get into Grant Hall … the ability to walk around and enjoy the event in Kingston Hall,” Fleck said.

The van shuttle for the event suffered a $2,000 accident, she said, which also increased the costs.

To work around the deficit, the Science Formal Committee and the EngSoc executives returned unused materials for refunds and pushed for sponsorships.

“People could pay off their remaining hours which did recover some money,” she said.

Finally, Fleck said, some of the deficit was absorbed by a contingency fund.

Moving forward, the EngSoc Board of Directors and the Science Formal Committee will work to have the budget reviewed earlier in the year to prevent similar issues.

“We will be creating some more directed policy to help with the transition … from society-managed to a corporate initiative under the Board of Directors,” Fleck said.

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