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Wisteria 2012 officially cancelled

A lasting UB tradition for seniors comes to an end

By Althea Benloss
On April 1, 2012

After over 60 years of a University of Bridgeport tradition, it was announced on Friday, March 30 that the annual senior event, called Wisteria, has been cancelled. It was not only cancelled for Friday, April 27, but possibly indefinitely.

Wisteria, a formal dance hosted by the graduating class each year is often seen as a means to get everyone (graduating seniors and all others) together one last time for a night of dance, music, food and memories. However, this tradition was forced to come to a halt, due to the lack of ticket sales. Tickets went on sale immediately after Winter Break for $55. Flyers stated that after this date, the price would jump to $65. The price included a round-trip bus ride, dinner, drinks, music and dancing into the a.m. hours. With little signs of sales, the $55 ticket presale price was extended, with March 30 being the cut-off date. However, the 100 tickets that were needed in order for Wisteria to kick off were not sold in time.

The Elite Class of 2012 planned to host Wisteria at Anthony's Ocean View in New Haven, with the theme being a Masquerade Ball. The venue was booked in November, tickets were on sale in January, and up until [March 30] only 20 tickets were sold.

"All students were told that we needed to sell at least 100 tickets by March 30 in order to have the event, and that if they paid a deposit, the balance in full would be due no later than April 6, because we had to pay the venue in full by April 9," Colleen Powers, Director of Campus Activities and Community, said. "So due to extremely low ticket sales the event had to be cancelled."

Powers believed that it may have been many different reasons why it ultimately led to this.

"Students like to wait until the last minute, but when you book an outside event venue, that is not an option; students were all waiting to see who else was going to buy tickets, but when they do that, ticket sales suffer," Powers said.

Powers said that the ticket was sold at cost, meaning the student was charges exactly what it cost them for the space, which included drinks, transportation, a huge buffet of food, DJ, dancing, etc.

"There was no markup for tickets; However, we did hear from a lot of students that they just didn't have the money to buy tickets for it," she said. "A lot of publicity was done, but there could always be more. It may just be a trend on campus right now that Wisteria, as it is established now, isn't the type of event students are looking for."

Senior Delia Amsterdam stated, "As senior Class president I'm very disappointed that I had to make the decision to cancel such a traditional event. After planning this from the time I got elected, it hurts to see that this was the outcome."

Senior Malakhi Eason, Vice-President of the Class of 2012, believes that the issue wasn't that Wisteria was not publicized or marketed.

"The issue is that the University of Bridgeport campus is blinded and media driven. So no matter how many flyers are up, emails sent, videos made, or word of mouth being spread; if it doesn't have to do with booty shaking or cost $5 at the door they are not interested," Eason said. "College is a place where you grow and are supposed to experience new things but people get so lost in finding something wrong with anything done right, to where it brings the value of things down. 

Eason said that he is highly upset and feels like the Staff/committee of the Elite Class of 2012 has been "working real hard on trying to make this year's Wisteria the best senior celebration that the University of Bridgeport has ever had."

According to Eason, the committee spent long nights, weekends, and lunch hours to meet on the behalf of the student body and also, due to this outcome, there will not be another Wisteria.

Wisteria has been a tradition at UB since the 1950's; Students have seen cruises, dances at a country club and even a roof top lounge dance.

Assistant Dean of Students Edina Oestricher was disappointed to hear that this traditional event was cancelled.

"In the 15 years I've been here, it's the first time that something has been cancelled-that there isn't a type of end of the year [senior] event," Oestricher said.

She said that when she first started working at UB, there was the popular "cruises to nowhere," for several years. However, two years ago there was a situation with overbooking for the cruise, which "may have put a bad taste in people's mouths."

The Wisteria of 2011 resulted in very low ticket sales, but the event went on nonetheless. The year prior to that was a case of overbooking , in which some students had to be left behind.

"The overbooking incident that took place two years ago was a crippling blow to the years of legitimacy Wisteria had," Colin Capaci, Junior and President of the Student Government Association (SGA) stated. "But ultimately, it is not the past to blame, but rather actions taken (or not taken) in the present."

Eason said that the class missed out on many great things that Wisteria would have provided on April 27.

"They missed out on a good time to celebrate the accomplishments of all the hard work they put in which allowed them to be able to graduate," he said. "They missed out on a great resort where the food was good and the drinks were free [and] on the best DJ on the radio, Lights, Camera, Action; Not to mention awards, gifts and a live band as you're eating."

"For Class of 2012 students who did not purchase their tickets," Powers said. "I think they missed out on what could have been a very special celebration of your graduation from UB."


To students who purchased a Wisteria ticket, please visit the Student Center, room 231, for your refund.

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