A&O Productions, For Members Only and Student Enrichment Services partnered to provide students with financial need free tickets to Friday’s Ball.
Students can use the SES One Form, an online application that centralizes various scholarships and funds into one website, to apply for a free ticket to Ball. A&O has previously collaborated with SES to provide free tickets for its fall concert, Blowout, and for comedian Samantha Bee’s talk in February.
The subsidized tickets, which cost $10 each, are accommodated by A&O and FMO’s revenues, Will Corvin, A&O co-chair, said. Though A&O has to help cover the cost of some of the tickets, he said the group is willing to absorb that cost so that more students can attend large events like Blowout and Ball.
Partnering with SES has been a “learning process,” Corvin said. The organizations have focused on making the process anonymous, so students who receive free tickets don’t feel embarrassed, the Weinberg senior said.
“A&O’s goal is to reach as many students on this campus as possible and give them amazing access to experiences that will hopefully, for some of them, be a defining experience of their college career,” Corvin said. “The ability to open that up to more students who might have barriers based on their socioeconomic background, we’re really proud of.”
Sharitza Rivera, assistant director of the SES office, said once a student applies for a free ticket on the One Form, the SES office works with the Office of Financial Aid to determine if the student is eligible for a subsidized ticket.
Rivera said there is collaboration between the office and student groups so students who qualify can get their free tickets with “lots of dignity.” After applying online and receiving approval for a subsidized ticket, students can pick their ticket up from the campus life office on the third floor of Norris University Center.
“We want to make sure that low-income students are able to have the full Northwestern experience and not to have financial barriers for these big events especially,” Rivera said. “You don’t want to feel like you’re the only one who isn’t going.”
Rivera said the SES office wants to collaborate with many other student organizations to make their ticketed events affordable, but the office also wants to see student groups working with each other so it doesn’t have to facilitate each event.
Mai Schotz, A&O’s community engagement chair, said some students wrote in surveys that financial accessibility was an issue barring some students from attending events, which was a “main concern” to the executive board. The Medill junior said offering free tickets for Blowout, Samantha Bee’s talk and Ball were an example of the group taking steps to address the issue.
“It feels like we’re doing the job that we’re asked to do in trying to serve the community as a whole, rather than certain pockets who’ve always had access, or been excited about our events,” Schotz said. “It’s an exciting thing for A&O to be moving toward that greater level of accessibility.”