By Giselle Barkley, Chelsea Katz and Krysten Massa
In light of the Streetlight Manifesto concert contract mishap, the Undergraduate Student Government is reevaluating how they bring big events to campus and even more so how they operate as whole.
“USG historically has operated in a siloed structure rather than being a cross-functional organization,” USG Treasurer Kathryn Michaud said in an email.
In previous years, departments within USG worked independently from one another as opposed to as one cohesive unit. Michaud expanded upon this, saying that companies that work in a siloed structure are more likely to experience communication issues and organize similar projects to achieve similar goals. This wastes money as well as time.
And it was a communication issue that put the Streetlight Manifesto concert, scheduled last week, to a screeching halt.
“I just think it’s depressing because they had to cancel something that was pretty much going to be awesome just because there was some problem with the contract,” Bryan Huang, a freshman business major, said.
USG had not completed the contract when they made the announcement during winter break that Streetlight Manifesto was to perform at Stony Brook on Thursday, Jan. 29.
The contract was supposed to be completed early last week. However, with the advent of Winter Storm Juno, USG could not finish the process.
“USG is required to have a contract signed before announcing an event,” James Jr. Iannotto, a graduate student studying electrical engineering said in an email interview. Iannotto said he received this information last year from Mario Ferone, the former Vice President of Communications & Public Relations, and Adil Hussain, the former president of USG.
After USG cancelled the concert, Iannotto posted on USG’s event Facebook page and stated that the organization had messed up the contract. Iannotto also provided a screenshot of a part of screenshot of a part of a conversation he had with John Mele, a USG senator, in which Mele urged Iannotto to remove his comment. The page was later taken down.
The contract issue highlighted communication problems within USG that its members are trying to rectify.
USG’s Vice President of Communications & Public Relations Danny Chung said via text that the recent events are an indication of the “amount of work [USG needs]” to accomplish in order to improve internal communication.
“I am no exception to this and hope to address it immediately with the help of the Executive Council, Senators and affiliated parties,” Chung said.
USG release the truth behind the concert cancellation in an email sent to the student body on Friday. However, several Stony Brook students, like Shannon Conley, freshman history major, said that they had not received this email.
Chung said that conflicting explanations for the concert cancellation prompted the email sent out.
The message briefly detailed the reason for why the concert was cancelled.
It also explained the importance of cancelling the concert more than 24 hours prior to the scheduled performance.
For USG, 24 hours meant the difference between getting back significant amounts of money spent in preparation for the Streetlight Manifesto concert and losing it.
According to USG’s email because the show was cancelled more than 24 hours in advance, USG successfully cancelled additional services needed for the concert and avoided “financial implications.”
Michaud could not provide The Statesman with a breakdown of the event’s expenses, as USG is in the process of rescheduling the concert.
Chung said he is not aware of the amount of money lost due to the cancellation of the concert, “however, it seems that losses (if at all) will be very minimal and will not impede any of our future events.”
According to Chung, members of the Student Activities Board led the planning of the Streetlight Manifesto concert. They are taking full responsibility for the cancellation of the concert.
Although students like Iannotto said the the email is a step in the right direction for USG, he said that it is not enough. Iannotto did not receive the email sent by USG but saw it from a friend.
According to Michaud, USG is making steps towards improving how they work together to prevent similar event and overall mishaps in the future.
“We have started to develop a team charter that will outline our objectives as an organization, key projects and operations, each person’s role in the team, and the way we will communicate and work together moving forward,” Michaud said.