The Biggest Little Festival: Is it Worth What we Spend on it? (Audio Story)

Jacob Kostuchowski, a journalism student, reports on UNR’s Biggest Little Festival to get student opinions on ASUN’s spending and what they do to improve student’s mental health. With all the issues students are facing, is the student government doing enough to assist?

A distant look at the audience and stage of UNR’s Biggest Little Festival. Photo taken by Jacob Kostuchowski.

Electronic music pulses through the afternoon air of the John Sala intramural fields as a hundred students begin to gather for the six hour event.

The Biggest Little Festival is a staple for end of school year celebrations at UNR. This last edition cost 25 dollars presale and 30 dollars at the door. There were major artists, such as JID and EARTHGANG. As a junior, I had questions though beyond the music of the overall value of the event and what The Associated Students of the University of Nevada, or ASUN does for its students.

Do students think that the funding ASUN uses for this huge music festival could go towards anything else? Something with more long term benefits for students?

I spoke with Michelle Yang, one of the event programmers, to ask about the timing of the festival and how it might help students.

“When you think of university or college you don’t really think of events like this,” Yang said. “You know, like having a festival, so I don’t know if it’s unique just to our university. But for college it is really fun.”

Yang didn’t directly answer my question but pointed to the importance of building community.

“I feel like it’s really cool to see all of your friends whether they are in greek life or a normal friend to perform in a live setting. I feel like it’s a good stepping stone for those people to get known,” Yang said.

FLOYBOY performing onstage. Photo by Jacob Kostuchowski.

Josh Hill, a sophomore at UNR, was attending the festival with Kaitlyn Napier, also a UNR student. I pulled them both aside to ask them a few questions. Both Josh and Kaitlyn feel that ASUN could do more to actually help student’s mental health.

“I think that there is a lot of things our tuition could help pay for. There are certain things on campus that it does pay for that aren’t fully beneficial,” Hill said. “I think that the mental health services here on campus, even though our tuition pays for it, aren’t fully covered. They aren’t as good as they could be. With events like these it really asks the question what this money could have gone to.”

“I think that the money on campus, like ASUN getting paid 3 million dollars a year is a huge budget, when I feel like they don’t do anything,” Napier said. “Like they throw together events, but I don’t see what they do for students. The mental health services are really really bad, and the ADA is really really bad in a lot of buildings for people who have disabilities.”

With all this in mind it seems that students feel that ASUN could do so much more for its students, especially in terms of UNR’s mental health services.

Studies show students are currently dealing with mounting student debt, anxiety, and depression. The festival is marketed as a de-stressor before finals, but did it really help with our many challenges?

In this day and age, should we start thinking differently of where our student money goes and what our campus experience should look like?

Reporting for the Reynolds Sandbox by Jacob Kostuchowski

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