Task Force Proposes Major Changes to Sun God 2015

Images from SGF 2013. UCSD Guardian file photo.
Images from SGF 2013. UCSD Guardian file photo.

UPDATE 12/3: This article has been updated to reflect the entirety of a quote from the Sun God Task Force meeting notes to further clarify the statement.

A tentative date has been set for the 2015 Sun God Festival for Sunday, May 3, after the Sun God Task Force met at their weekly meeting on Nov. 25, 2014 to discuss the event and the proposed agenda.

The 2015 festival is scheduled to begin at noon with activities to “get students out of residence halls away from drinking and participate in fun, lively events,” the task force wrote in a preliminary festival agenda that was provided at the meeting. The preactivities will continue until approximately 3 p.m., and from then until 8 p.m. or 9 p.m., there will be “musical acts and carnival without electronic dance music or major headliners.”

The task force discussed providing a cool-down event from approximately 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. that would “focus on film, comedy — other forms of chill entertainment that’s not associated with alcohol or drug use.”

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Juan Gonzalez began the meeting by stating that the group was in agreement about the continuation of the Sun God Festival but discussed how the date and time of the festival can still be altered.

“The dates are still manageable … This is not written in stone,” Gonzalez said. “It could be 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., instead of 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Institutionally, [we] want to make a decision for the best light and best decision for our students.”

Members of the task force, including Health and Student Well-Being Assistant Vice Chancellor Karen Calfas discussed alcohol education.

Resident Dean of Eleanor Roosevelt College Reynaldo Guerrero also discussed having hands-on education for students and mentioned partnering up with Good Life Festival, a UCSD festival that promotes healthy living to “test [students’] skills in order to get a wristband,” as well as using Good Life as an educational resource for the students. No date has yet been confirmed for the Good Life Festival for the 2014–15 academic year.

A.S. Concert and Events Festival Director Sean Kennedy explained that the task force is going to push its educational campaign even more so by campaigning year-round but noted that there are always difficulties in reaching out to students. He said that the task force is going to be placing a stronger emphasis on drug use while still keeping alcohol consumption as a focus, and he hopes the reformatting of the festival will solve many of the festival’s problems.

Gonzalez said that he hopes Sun God becomes a model for future campus endeavors. “We all have to sponsor … the proactiveness [sic] of alcohol education so it permeates the campus culture,” Gonzalez said. “If we’re going to change the campus culture, it’s not going to happen by one festival or committee. We can’t afford to believe that our conclusion and our agreements and conversations have solved an issue.”

ASCE coordinator Benjamin Miller said that he thought the main event would run concurrently with the cool-down event, and Kennedy explained to the group that the cool-down event is one of the most important events to focus on during the festival.

“The problem with this — the way it could go wrong — when the actual event is ending at 8 p.m., [students] make [plans] for afterwards,” Kennedy said. “I think if we just show a movie, it won’t attract the crowd we need to attract for us to solve the problem, [and] for that, [the events] need to be a natural flow and, for events to flow, having an overlap in this schedule needs to happen.”

When asked if there is potential for the festival to be cancelled, Kennedy explained to the UCSD Guardian that the chances of that occurring are slim because time and money have already been invested in the festival, and that something of major significance would have to occur for it to be completely cancelled.

Kennedy commented to the Guardian that the task force is beginning to contact agents for the lineup.

“We’re open to all genres [and] maybe getting a country artist… but there is no plan to center it around country,” Kennedy said. “It’s really looking at, ‘Are people taking the substances to go to those concerts?’”

Closing off the International House and the Village has not yet been discussed and is dependent on how the events are formed this year. The task force might stay with the previous security company it hired, Staff Pro, or it might hire Staff Pro and a second company, depending on the scope of the event.

When asked about his confidence in the festival, Kennedy said that it will be more challenging.

“Students always expect a bigger, better event … but there’s a huge health component,” Kennedy said. “These changes aren’t what people are expecting, but there is a way to take these changes and make them into the best possible event.”