U-Fest missed the mark

What started out as an idea to get University students together for games and activities turned into something that seemed more like a relentless advertising event for local businesses. The U-Fest event held in front of Coffman Union on Thursday, put on by University finance senior Nick Beste and University alumnus Kevin Carlow, was aimed at providing students with fun activities like playing the video game âÄúRock BandâÄù and so on. But U-Fest turned out to be a market fest that brought local business on the front lawn of Coffman, handing out pamphlets with information to students passing through. Many of the business didnâÄôt even have an activity for students to participate in, instead offering information about the companyâÄôs founding history. Much of the free goods offered at some booths merely consisted of coupons. Carlow said in FridayâÄôs Daily that they had raised $25,000 to put on the event, but did not state whether him and Beste were benefiting or profiting from the event. Either way, the $25,000 spent to organize an event that mainly benefited the businesses involved and not the students could have been spent otherwise. Instead, Ashleigh Brummund, a 2007 Carlson graduate who helped organize the event, in the Daily article said, âÄúIt gives a lot of vendors the chance to reach a diverse group of students.âÄù After all, she said, âÄúStudents love free stuff.âÄù Students indeed love free stuff, but perhaps that great marketing and exposure could have had some meaning behind it. With tuition rising, why not gather these local businesses and have them contribute to the UniversityâÄôs general scholarship fund? Or contribute to the research that could cure a disease? Anything aside from allowing businesses to simply advertise to students would have been more beneficial. Both Carlow and Beste said they want the event to become an annual one. If that is the case, perhaps they should consider revising its mission to benefit students, not just businesses.