University of Calgary students upset at Bermuda Shorts Day moving indoors

U of C Students' Union blames costs, declining popularity of annual tradition

Bermuda Shorts Day 2019 wristbands. (University of Calgary Students' Union/Instagram)

Is it as fun to wear Bermuda shorts indoors? A group of University of Calgary students don’t think so.

The U of C’s annual tradition, Bermuda Shorts Day (BSD), is being moved indoors this year by the Students’ Union (SU) to MacEwan Hall in an attempt to save money and increase attendance, but some say it just won’t be the same indoors.

BSD began in 1961, and grew to become an end-of-semester day of partying and drinking in loud outfits, including the titular shorts.

On Monday, the first day BSD wristbands (required for entry) were made available, the “Save BSD” group began arranging their own outdoor party at D-Block, a public space. The page had over 750 people expressing interest in going.

“We’d rather see the old style of partying,” said Brennan Peters, one of the two students running the Save BSD group.

Peters, a first-year student, said he heard about the decision three weeks ago and decided to spread the word.

In a fact sheet released online, the SU said that they “cannot continue to host an event that runs a $100,000 deficit, especially when attendance levels suggest to us that most students don’t care about it anymore.”

Peters acknowledged the declining attendance, and the SU’s financial losses.  He said that the decline was due to BSD shifting away from live music and featuring more DJs.

“It’s away from a proper festival.”

According to the SU, this very concern is what they are trying to address. Their fact sheet states they “hope to cater to a diverse student body by offering more drink, food, activity, and music options. This is something students have told us they want.”

Peters said that D-Block has been a party spot alongside BSD in recent years.

To send a message to the SU, the group was planning to pick up the free BSD wristbands required for entry, then not attend, he added.

The SU fact sheet states that they have always given out more wristbands than there is space, because about half of students who get wristbands do not attend.

The free entry comes a year after the SU charged for admission for the first time.

An article that year from The Gauntlet, the U of C student newspaper, noted that “the SU has taken a notably combative stance with the U of C when talking about the costs of security.” The SU bears all the costs of security, including patrolling Calgary Police Service. In addition, the U of C began charging the SU for use of the Lot 32 parking lot when the event moved there in 2009.

The revamped BSD will take place April 12.

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