Budget cuts kill Eaglepalooza
For the past 13 years, Eaglepalooza has been known for the vibrant music that it brings to Hattiesburg. Due to educational budget cuts made by Mississippi legislature, the annual musical festival has been canceled.
“We will be able to be more intentional in direct areas of the students,” said Student Government President Cameron Cloud. “Eaglepalooza was an event of 13 years of tradition, but we will be able to better to focus on student organizations and directly affect the student body. It’s bittersweet, but SGA is going to do huge things this year. We’re still going to be present in the community.”
Cloud believes that even though Eaglepalooza is gone, the community will be able to recover from the loss of such a staple in the Hattiesburg community.
“It has a lot to do with the budget,” Cloud said. “We have a budget we get presented at the beginning of the year and it predicts what we get for the year. The cut was so large that we didn’t have the $45,000 to run Eaglepalooza.”
Former SGA president Caroline Bradley is not just looking at the money. Bradley, who has been in the Student Government Association for almost her entire college career, said Eaglepalooza was more than a concert.
“It is a great recruitment tool, so from the potential student side, not having the concert equals a loss of a great selling point,” Bradley said. “For current students, a campus tradition that brings the community together is gone. I think the loss is going to hurt, but hearing the feedback and getting ideas for bringing Eaglepalooza back are encouraging. It shows us that this community wants to work together to get it back.”
The social media community was outraged by the news of cutting one of the biggest music events in the entire state of Mississippi. Last year, Keri Hilson rocked the stage, with Echosmith coming to the Hub City the year before.
Cloud said what is most important to him is transparency. Throughout his campaign for SGA president, a position he has held for just under a month, he advocated for clear communication and he followed through with SGA’s announcement of the cancellation of Eaglepalooza.
“I ran my campaign on transparency,” Cloud said. “I was the bearer of bad news. It was the only option. I’m confident people will express their concerns on this issue.
“Either cut Eaglepalooza or lessen the quality of the investment of student organizations or other areas of SGA. Eaglepalooza was the best choice for that.”
SGA is looking for options to mitigate the loss of Eaglepalooza.
“Unfortunately, cutting Eaglepalooza was one of the first things to cut in the statewide budget cuts,” Cloud said. “We work through them, work as a community and move forward.”
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