Boston College should implement more affordable Senior Week events to make the programs more accessible to students. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which hindered social connection between members of the Class of 2022, Senior Week events are an effective way to foster a sense of unity among students. The senior class deserves to celebrate its four years at BC without concerns about ticket pricing.
The current prices for Senior Week events can act as a deterrent to some seniors interested in participating. Ticketed Senior Week events include a Red Sox game for $21, Dance Through the Decades for $50, the 100 Days Dance for $40, the Commencement Ball for $100, a golf outing for $80, and a Trivia Night at Circle Tavern for $12. All ticket costs each include an additional Robsham Box Office $2.50 convenience fee. If a senior wanted to attend every event, it would cost $318 for tickets—including the convenience fee—alone.
On top of ticketing, there are other costs that might hinder a student’s ability to participate in Senior Week. For formal events, appropriate attire is often expected. Dresses can cost $50 or more and the average cost to rent a tuxedo starts around $150. Transportation is typically not included for Senior Week events, leaving students to choose between long T wait times or paying for expensive Ubers, yet another expense for the graduating seniors.
The event ticket prices also fail to take into account that graduating seniors are gearing up to pay a variety of post-graduate expenses, such as rent, graduate school tuition, and student loans. Students should be able to enjoy Senior Week events without stressing about high prices that might bar them from bonding with their class.
Senior Week is organized by the Office of Student Involvement (OSI) along with student organizers, but the office does not receive a formal budget or funding from the University for the week’s events, according to Matt Razek, OSI’s associate director of student programming. On-campus organizations may sponsor certain events to make them free, but this is not the case for every event. For example, the Boston College Police Department hosts a barbeque in the Mods, which is open to all seniors for no cost. Non-sponsored events, however, such as the 100 Days Dance or the Commencement Ball, are funded exclusively through student ticketing.
OSI relays the total number of tickets available for a select event to the Robsham Box Office, including general tickets, comped tickets, and Montserrat tickets. The Montserrat office then shares events with its students, who can fill out a form, entering them into a ticket lottery for each individual event, if they are interested. Due to the limited number of Montserrat tickets offered for each event, there is no guarantee that all Montserrat students will be able to attend all of the events they want to. Although the Montserrat lottery system is the same for Senior Week events as general events throughout the school year, the limited number of overall tickets for Senior Week activities may further hinder Montserrat students’ ability to attend.
Seniors have also complained that the process of purchasing tickets for Senior Week events is highly competitive, largely due to capacity constraints. OSI, however, often determines how many tickets it offers based on previous demand. For example, Razek explained that in 2019, OSI offered 500 tickets for a Red Sox game and sold 450. This year, they offered 600 tickets for the same event, expecting a similar amount of demand, but sold out instead. OSI then had to work with Fenway Park to offer an additional 125 tickets, capping the events at 725 seats. Even with the additional seats, some students were still unable to purchase tickets.
For Dance Through the Decades, however, there was a delay in ticket demand. The Royale Boston hosted the dance, which OSI capped at a capacity limit of 1,500— not nearly enough space for a senior class of 2,200. Tickets remain available, yet students seem reluctant to purchase them.
This delayed demand can partially be attributed to the high prices of the tickets, which do not include transportation costs or complimentary drinks. High prices can make students reluctant to purchase tickets until the last minute, which falsely indicates to organizers that there is less interest in some events. This delayed interest can therefore prevent organizers from properly meeting student demand.
Senior Week activities should consider less expensive venues and offer a greater number of cheaper tickets upfront. This would ensure that students who want to participate in Senior Week activities are able to afford tickets for multiple events and are not concerned about a last-minute rush of sold-out tickets. The most important part of Senior Week programming is not the expensive venues, but celebrating the camaraderie of the senior class. The organizers’ decisions should reflect this by selecting more moderately priced venues.
Senior Week offers graduating seniors the opportunity to celebrate their time at BC and embrace the BC community. Ticket sales and fundraising are necessary logistical components of these events, but they should not be deterrents to student participation. Ensuring that all seniors, regardless of financial capability, are included in Senior Week events should be the primary goal of organizers.
Correction (5/10/22, 1:50 p.m.): A previous version of this article stated that the original capacity limits for the Dance Through the Decades was 2,300 people. It was corrected to 1,500. The article also incorrectly stated that tickets for the dance had sold out. It was corrected to reflect that tickets for the dance still remain available.