The intent of this article is to assist university students in creating a budget that can assist them in attending PASIC, even with limited disposable income. We hope to help those whose barriers to attending PASIC are financial, and provide a general plan of action for attending events for those who may be new to PASIC.
COSTS AND CONSIDERATIONS
There are many choices for where to stay around the Indianapolis Convention Center. Hotels average approximately $180 a night. This cost can easily be divided by two, three, or four individuals, depending on your preference and the number of students attending together. Information on travel costs and specific hotel costs can be found at pasic.org/travel-hotel.
Less expensive alternatives may be found using various third-party sites such as airbnb.com or vrbo.com. Make sure to read about house property rules and fees! Often, commuting costs can be kept low as well by using the transportation system in Indy. Information about bus fare and passes can be found at indygo.net/fares-and-passes, and information about routes in relation to your housing can be found at indygo.net/plan-your-trip. Otherwise, using Uber, Lyft, or one of the city’s scooter services are an option for long commutes to the convention center.
Lodging plans must be made early to get the best price/location. Most of the time, funding will have to be on a reimbursement plan, meaning students will have to plan with each other how to front the money to reserve a hotel or rental.
When looking for a rental home, consider both location and cost. It is cheaper to pay $116 a night for a three-bedroom house and taxi to the convention than to book a $300 a night hotel in close proximity to the convention center. If you book early enough, there are numerous affordable rental apartments close to the convention center. Bring some air mattresses and split the cost among friends.
For university trips that have smaller numbers of students traveling, a university van may be available. Contact your university’s Office for Student Affairs to inquire about policies and permissions. You will usually need a student organization or club to back this trip, as well as an advisor. Those signing out a university vehicle should account for mileage and gas money needed to make the trip. Per diem may be available as well; always ask!
If staying in a downtown area, keep parking costs under consideration. Plan whether or not it would be cheaper to use taxi services or drive yourself. If you are using larger vehicles, such as charter busses or trucks, parking will need to be planned out before arrival. Most convention centers do not allow visiting vehicles to stay overnight.
Once you have decided to attend PASIC, register! It is much cheaper to register during the early-registration window. Also consider that, in some years, PAS hosts ensembles like the International Marimba Orchestra or All-Star Ensemble, where admittance into these ensembles via audition includes free registration. (Note that PAS membership is typically required for an audition opportunity.) Volunteering to serve on the logistics team or volunteers crew includes free registration for the convention. You must sign up for two separate volunteer shifts to qualify for your four-day pass. More info here: pas.org/get-involved/volunteer-at-pasic.
Managing the amount you spend on food is crucial to minimize expenses. Consider visiting a grocery store to gather snacks, breakfast bars, coffee materials, lunch options, and late-night snacks.
MISSED SCHOOL WORK
One of the first things you should do when considering attending an event that will conflict with school is to check with your teachers. The sooner you communicate with them, the better chance you will have to work out an agreement for missed work. Send a professional email asking permission to miss any scheduled events from your syllabus, follow up in person, and then send another reminder email as the event nears. Keep in mind that many teachers may not know about PASIC and will need context. Include an introduction to PAS as well as a plan for any missed work.
PERFORMING VS. ATTENDING
Whether you are attending a PAS event with the intention of performing or simply attending, there are different factors to consider when planning a budget. Both have advantages, and both are possible to do at a minimal cost. Performing in a competition usually includes a registration fee on top of individual attendance costs. Some competitions in which results are decided before the convention will include free registration as part of the prize.
PAS and its industry partners make several scholarships available for attending PASIC. Visit pas.org to explore PASIC scholarships that including registration, a T-shirt, and up to $500 for travel, lodging, and food. The Texas and California chapters provide specific scholarships to residents, and international-student PASIC scholarships are also available. Sabian offers full registration, travel, lodging, and more for a Canadian percussion major, and the Remo/Arthur Hull scholarship is available for “rhythm facilitators.”
Universities with a Student Government Association (SGA) may also provide student funding for conference attendance. If you’re paying an “activity fee” or something similar in your tuition, there’s a good chance there’s an SGA. If you’re paying for it, it might as well benefit you while attending school! Visit studentgovresources.org to find toolkits and resources related to advocacy for your university’s student body.
Student Government Associations will propose a budget to the Student Senate, Student Union, Associated Students, and/or Student Council. This budget is usually based on the fundraising revenue, involvement of student organizations, number of students attending the university, and the costs associated with running the SGA. Any new club under the SGA begins with a reduced amount of funding compared to a club that has existed and remained active for 10 years. Depending on the university, the associated SGA may have a very large budget capable of supporting multiple music-related clubs. Often, these clubs can fundraise for extra funds using car washes, bake sales, etc. Note that increasing student involvement in your percussion club often correlates with an increase of SGA budget funding year-to-year. Your SGA will want to see your club being productive without large amounts of funding, so it is important to remember that building your percussion club is a long game, but very worthwhile.
Through your university’s Student Government Association, there are many growth-oriented funds that can be requested. For most universities, the request for these funds must be submitted a year in advance, usually included in a yearly budget, so be mindful of deadlines. In crafting your budget, you will want to be clear that the purpose for the funds being requested is independent of funds being allocated to your studio (e.g., buying new instruments for the percussion department). Some universities may also offer an option where the dean of a specific institution will match a student organization's funding when said funding gets used for educational purposes, like a conference, so always ask!
The University Student Committee consists of highly motivated university students seeking to become more involved in the percussion community, while gaining valuable experience in a variety of areas. University Student Committee members serve as liaisons between student percussionists and the leadership of PAS in their chapter, playing a vital role in PAS’s efforts to better serve percussion students.