AMS Block Party, usually held on the last day of classes in April, has already been cancelled due to COVID-19.
With an initial budget of $97,500, this marks the second consecutive cancellation of a major AMS event, following the cancellation of Welcome Back BBQ, usually held in September.
According to AMS VP Finance Lucia Liang, the decision to slash the budget for the party was made due to “provincial health regulations and pandemic modelling,” making it unlikely the AMS would be able to safely hold a Block Party in 2021.
Recently in British Columbia, there has been an uptick in new COVID-19 cases. Younger people have also been contracting COVID-19 at increased rates in recent months compared to the beginning of the pandemic.
However, Liang said that should there be a new AMS event in place of Block Party, the money for that sort of event could be added back into the budget as “the virtual events are costing less than in-person events,” she said.
And if the impacts of the pandemic have eased by April, potentially hosting a Block Party would not be a major budgetary issue.
“Budgets can always be changed through and we can adapt accordingly if circumstances change in early 2021,” Liang said.
Hosting new AMS events in lieu of the cancelled Welcome Back BBQ and Block Party is a priority, according to AMS Events Manager Rish Das. In the past month, Das said that the society has “organized 30 different events for students, which have been a mix of virtual and in-person events,” with COVID-19 restrictions in place for the latter.
The participation rate for these events is lower than the events team had hoped, mainly due to students living in different time zones.
To rectify that, Das says that the AMS is “changing [their] times for different events [and] ensuring that they are not always taking place at the same times.” Das said the AMS’s priority is to keep students engaged.
“We're still organizing events for students, trying to keep them engaged and providing them with some sort of experience and transition into UBC.”