This year’s Flunk Day came in under the budgeted $40,000, according to Coordinator for Student Engagement Andrew Salemi who organized the event for the first time. The total cost will be near $35,625 but one invoice has yet to come in. Salemi explained that he spent conservatively because he was not sure what exactly to expect in costs.
The largest expense for Flunk Day are the inflatables, which came in at around $20,000 this year. Salemi said they could easily charge more, but that the college’s relationship with the company has helped.
“We don’t pay for any of their hotels when they come and stay here, we don’t pay for any of their food, we don’t pay for their travel costs, so it’s all inclusive,” Salemi said.
Other expenses included the give aways at the Union Board tent, which included approximately $1,800 in bandanas and $1,140 in temporary tattoos. The Flunk Day planners designed both the bandanas and the tattoos for the event. The Abraham Lincoln impersonator costs $550 for the day and the sound set-up was $1,000.
The other major expense this year was the foam party. This year the cost was kept down by hiring a company started by a Knox alum, Matt Klich ‘15. The costs can normally run as high as $10,000 for the company but Salemi said this year it cost closer to $6,000. The tent to hold the party was around $1,500.
“I think he did a great job, considering he started that company on his own out of undergrad,” Salemi said.
According to Union Board co-coordinator senior Naomi Morishita, Salemi, the co-coordinators and two other students selected by the co-coordinators started planning at the start of Winter Term. She pointed out this year also had a lower cost because the number of giveaways was reduced to two and there was a party instead of a performer.
“Usually having a party is slightly cheaper than having someone to perform,” Morishita said.
In previous years, Union Board has used leftover money to purchase supplies that might not make it into the budget, like the lawn games set out on Flunk Day and LincolnFest.
“Any time Union Board has leftover money at the end of the year, at least looking back at previous budgets, what they do is just invest in new equipment for different things,” Salemi said.
Salemi was careful with spending this year, as his predecessors did not leave many detailed notes on what their average expenses for specific parts of the day were.
The planners had goals besides cutting costs too. Junior Maria Ha was one of the students chosen by Morishita and her co-coordinator senior Vlad Papancea to help plan. Ha worked with the inflatables company and said that keeping some of the inflatables all day may actually have been more expensive.
“We realized some of the inflatables are really popular and that we should just keep them all day because the line is pretty long and people might not get a chance to go on them,” Ha said.
One unknown is if Union Board will need to pay Bon Apptit back for meals. Three swipes are taken from every on-board student, but if more meals are eaten than swipes are taken the company needs to be paid the difference. This year, however, nothing was owed.
An important part of Salemi’s planning was accounting for this unknown expense, which is part of why he kept costs down. He refused to take total credit for the lower cost though.
“Overall I think it was kind of just a stroke of luck having leftover money this year. You know, being under budget with [Klich] and being conservative in case I didn’t know what to expect from dining,” Salemi said.