Forum Seeks to Address Sun God Concerns

Associated Students Concerts & Events discussed some of the changes being made to this year’s Sun God Festival in a Sun God Open Forum, which was held on Jan. 14 in the Great Hall at I-House. Major changes confirmed by the forum include a change in date of the concert, a shift to a daytime festival, a policy of no re-entry accompanied by increased security at the entrances and increased attractions on RIMAC Field.

The forum, coordinated by the Inter-College Residents’ Association, aimed to inform residents of the Sun God Health and Safety Task Force’s goals for this year’s festival and to address residents’ reactions to proposed changes, allowing members of the Task Force and ASCE to answer any questions and make clarifications concerning any of the changes.

The Sun God Festival organizers’ rationale behind many of the changes is not only due to concerns about student health and safety, but also largely because of the budget deficit that ASCE is currently working with while planning the concert. It took a financial hit last year after losing the revenue that would have come from the now-banned guest ticket sales.

Jordan Coburn, festival coordinator and ASCE representative to the Sun God Task Force, wants students to still be excited for the lineup that ASCE is putting together for the event and said that the shortening of the festival could actually mean better talent depending on negotiations.

“It will be an awesome lineup,” Coburn told the UCSD Guardian. “Essentially, we’re going to have less acts, and as a result, because we’re using the same talent budget from last year, we’ll have less slots with more money used for each.”

Furthermore, students are being offered an extended Midway section this year in which there will be games, rides, entertainers and other activities as alternatives to the bands.

Other activities will be occurring on campus during the weekend of Sun God 2015, including the Fourth Annual Good Life Festival put on by Student Health & Well-Being.  Last year’s festival featured a climbing wall, henna artists, prizes, healthy food and other attractions. Karen Calfas, Executive Director of Student Health & Well-Being and a member of the Sun God Task Force, explained that the Good

Associated Students Concerts & Events discussed some of the changes being made to this year’s Sun God Festival in a Sun God Open Forum, which was held on Jan. 14 in the Great Hall at I-House. Major changes confirmed by the forum include a change in date of the concert, a shift to a daytime festival, a policy of no re-entry accompanied by increased security at the entrances and increased attractions on RIMAC Field.

The forum, coordinated by the Inter-College Residents’ Association, aimed to inform residents of the Sun God Health and Safety Task Force’s goals for this year’s festival and to address residents’ reactions to proposed changes, allowing members of the Task Force and ASCE to answer any questions and make clarifications concerning any of the changes.

The Sun God Festival organizers’ rationale behind many of the changes is not only due to concerns about student health and safety, but also largely because of the budget deficit that ASCE is currently working with while planning the concert. It took a financial hit last year after losing the revenue that would have come from the now-banned guest ticket sales.

Jordan Coburn, festival coordinator and ASCE representative to the Sun God Task Force, wants students to still be excited for the lineup that ASCE is putting together for the event and said that the shortening of the festival could actually mean better talent depending on negotiations.

“It will be an awesome lineup,” Coburn told the UCSD Guardian. “Essentially, we’re going to have less acts, and as a result, because we’re using the same talent budget from last year, we’ll have less slots with more money used for each.”

Furthermore, students are being offered an extended Midway section this year in which there will be games, rides, entertainers and other activities as alternatives to the bands.

Other activities will be occurring on campus during the weekend of Sun God 2015, including the Fourth Annual Good Life Festival put on by Student Health & Well-Being.  Last year’s festival featured a climbing wall, henna artists, prizes, healthy food and other attractions. Karen Calfas, Executive Director of Student Health & Well-Being and a member of the Sun God Task Force, explained that the Good Life Festival was moved from the Thursday of Week 4 to the Saturday before Sun God 2015 in an effort to involve students and make them better aware of how to live a healthy lifestyle.

The Sun God Festival itself is being moved to the Sunday of Week 5 during Spring Quarter as well.

Student Health & Well-Being is also involved with the educational component of the Sun God Festival, including the Sun God Festival Floaties program.

Floaties receive instruction in special Bystander Intervention Techniques, which teach how to intervene when friends are making unsafe choices, and alcohol education, which teaches how to recognize when someone is too intoxicated, among other things.

When asked why changes were continually to be made to the festival, Director of Student Life and Task Force member Alex Kushner emphasized that health and safety concerns were not only rooted in the number of students historically needing to enter detox facilities, but in the detrimental effect that the high number of hospitalizations was having on the San Diego community as well.

A new component of the detox centers, level two detox, which was monitored by medical professionals, was introduced in an effort to occupy less hospital beds and reduce the adverse effects of the festival on local medical centers.

However, Kushner revealed that the number of students going to the hospital, when added to the number of students going to level two detox, was ultimately the same as the number of students hospitalized in the past.

“We haven’t successfully changed the culture of the festival,” Kushner told the forum. “Our students continued to engage in risky behavior that resulted in a need for medical aid.”

However, the Task Force went on to say that it hoped to dispel the myth that the festival would be cancelled if students still went to detox for treatment.

ICRA President William Hsu attended the first Task Force meeting of this quarter prior to the forum and told the Guardian that he is happy to see the committee moving forward and creating new solutions.

“I do want to make sure that there’s safety, but I also want to make sure that the different aspects of student life offered to our residents on campus are satisfying,” Hsu said.

ASCE Festival Director Shawn Kennedy addressed transportation concerns for students living off campus by saying that the organization is attempting to renegotiate with the transportation service Uber to gain coupon codes for students during Sun God 2015.

Last year, ASCE was one of the first groups to secure such codes for students who were already using the service.

Other members of the Task Force present at the conference included Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Director of Resident Life Reynaldo Guerrero, Chief of UCSD Police David Rose, and representative Blanka Pentek.

Also in attendance was Associated Vice President of Concerts and Events Seraphin Raya.