By Maddie Fetchiet
The Residence Halls Association (RHA) at Michigan State University provides students with cheap entertainment options by putting on campus events such as the upcoming performance by Saturday Night Live comedian, Paul Brittain, and performance by Mac Miller in October.
According to Chelsea Satkowiak, director of public relations at the RHA, they are responsible for 10 major campus events per year, from concerts to celebrity speakers.? Events are made so affordable for students due to an RHA imposed tax of $25 on tuition bills.
The RHA brings many big names to MSU and the surrounding community from comedians to musicians.
Back in October, the RHA hosted hip-hop artist Mac Miller, 19, at Fairchild Auditorium. The concert sold out to a crowd of mostly MSU students, who were able to purchase tickets for only $15.
While Miller kept the crowd enticed throughout the event, students say one of the best parts about the concert was the affordable ticket price they paid to attend. Sophomore advertising major, Devon Coates said the low cost of tickets were what really attracted him to the Mac Miller concert.
“I bought the tickets because they were $15 a piece. If they were $30 I might not have gone. Because they were $15 it was easy,” Coates said.
Satkowiak said the RHA-imposed tax is for students living on campus and is responsible for keeping ticket prices low. Although ticket prices vary depending on the popularity of the performer, the RHA is committed to keeping campus events cheap for students by relying on taxes to fund their affairs.
“Our goal when we bring shows to MSU is not to make profit, but to bring quality, low cost or free events to students,” said Satkowiak.
Students can find the RHA tax listed under the “general fees” category on tuition bills.
Satkowiak said the RHA rarely has fundraisers that benefit their organization. The fundraisers held by the RHA focus on donating money to charities, such as the 5K Race held to donate money to Ele’s Place, a center for grieving children.
Rodney James, director of special events for the RHA, said in an email he operates under the notion that college students are often strapped for cash and tries to provide reasonably-priced tickets for events like concerts.
“When doing concerts with RHA the whole point of it is to have affordable ticket prices for students. In my tenure I haven’t had a ticket price over $20,” James said in an email.
Even given the recent economic downturn, the RHA remains unaffected by the turmoil, boasting steady numbers for event prices.
“I also do things with the mind set that most college students are broke, so the fluctuation of the economy has minimal if any effect on event ticket prices,” James said in an email.
No one appreciates cheap concert tickets more than college students who often have limited funds. However, students say the impressive roster of musical artists and other performers the RHA schedules keeps them returning to events.
Coates, who attended Miller’s as his first-ever concert, said he was satisfied and plans to attend more RHA events in the future since the concert was such high quality.
From knowledgeable ushers to fast-paced ticket lines, the RHA staff made a positive impression on students like Coates.
“The people working there were professional and it was an awesome, great place for a concert. Everything went really smoothly, they picked a good person to do the concert,” Coates said. “They couldn’t have done any better, I would definitely go to something again.”
MSU arts and humanities graduate Zach Desprez, a veteran attendee of RHA concerts, has seen big-name artists like Big Sean, Drake and Lupe Fiasco through the RHA.
Desprez said he was equally impressed with the quality of the Mac Miller concert and past events hosted by the RHA.
“It was packed, and everyone seemed to be having fun,” Desprez said. “Ushers were where they were supposed to be, security was tight and it was pretty smooth.”
Aside from major events like concerts and comedy shows, which according to James are the most popular of events, the RHA also offers smaller events throughout the year.
The RHA sponsors events like the Spartan Leadership Conference, free movie nights in residence halls and an annual stress relief program during the first semester finals week.
“We want to bring special events and programs that will benefit students. We want to bring shows and events to campus that students will enjoy and that they’ll actually attend,” Satkowiak said.
Upcoming RHA events promise to keep students returning. Even after graduating in May, Desprez wants to stay involved on campus by attending RHA events, he says.
“I’m from around here and have buddies that are still around,” Desprez said. “If I’m here into my masters program and can still take advantage of this kind of stuff, I’m going to. I’m just trying to have a good time.”