Officials Meet to Brainstorm Sun God Changes

The Sun God Festival’s team, along with Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Juan Gonzalez, met earlier this month to discuss the future of the Sun God Festival. Also in attendance was the Associated Students Concerts and Events director Christian Walker, the Chief of Police along with other students and administrative representatives. 

ASCE posted on their Facebook page on Nov. 12 that the attendees of the meeting proposed various changes to Sun God Festival such as, “a temporary ban on the festival which included splitting up the festival into three smaller concerts at RIMAC and a possible permanent cancellation of the festival.” 

Walker stated that ASCE and Gonzalez will continue to discuss  how planners should  implement new changes to the Festival.

“The situation is that the Vice Chancellor [Gonzalez] has tasked us to bring substantial-enough changes to the table for him to be comfortable with the festival moving forward,” Walker told the UCSD Guardian. “When we brought our ideas to the table, those were the ones that were pitched in response. We’re now in a position of either accepting those changes or pushing back and trying to see whether we can come up with a way to continue the traditions of Sun God Festival.”

There have been almost 500 health and safety cases at the festival in recent years, including arrests, detox admissions and medical transports, which called for immediate structural changes to the event. Walker said that the team is attempting to alter how students see the event but they ultimately need more time.

“We’re trying to move away the event tradition so that it’s not centered around drinking and drugs, but the problem is that there’s always going to be a body of students that know the current and past versions of the event,” Walker said. “[In] the past couple of years, seniors and juniors have ended up in detox more often, but if we can see a 25-percent reduction in health and safety incidents, it’s an indicator that the older quarter of our student population with a problematic view of the festival has left. A lot of the changes that we’ve set in place — we haven’t really had enough time to see how they could affect the festival and it’s what we’re trying to draw administrators’ attention to.”

ASCE also hosted Hullabaloo last Friday and saw a positive trend in the number of health and safety concerns; Walker indicated that results like these may help preserve the Sun God Festival tradition.

“Health and safety was something we really wanted to prioritize and address in planning Hullabaloo this year to show that our students can handle an event of this scale,” Walker said. “If we can work with students, educate them about their responsibility at these events and see real tangible success; that’s something we can show administrators and it definitely helps our efforts in convincing them that there’s an upwards positive trend. We ended up having one medical transport at this huge event, which is a huge improvement on six from last year, and it shows that we’re able to act in a way that improves our community.”

Thurgood Marshall College junior Aryo Jarhomi argued that UCSD needs a campus-wide event like this to rival those of other campuses.

“Other schools have huge concerts, such as the Block Party at UC Riverside and [University of Southern California] and Outside Lands at UC Berkeley,” Jahromi told the Guardian. “We need something like Sun God Festival to bring out our school spirit and unify the colleges, as it is something that everyone knows about and looks forward to.”

There will be another meeting this Friday and students can send their ideas and suggestions to the ASCE Festivals team via email.