For the third time in the last four years, Rondelet has been canceled. The Rice Program Council announced the decision last Friday at the Rice Memorial Center and through Facebook.
"We decided to bring back our spring-semester formal last year," RPC President Libby Ulman said. "We wanted to keep the tradition alive, and Rondelet should have its place alongside events like Esperanza and Beer Bike."
Last year the event sold out all 600 tickets in the first few days of ticket sales. The dance was hosted at the restaurant Trevisio, which could accommodate only the 600 attendees.
"This year, we only sold 20 tickets in the first week," RPC Vice President Matt Sawyer said. "We had a very small budget for Rondelet, partly due to loss of profit incurred at Esperanza earlier last semester."
With the low number of ticket sales, Sawyer, a Sid Richardson College senior, said holding Rondelet would carry too much financial risk and jeopardize future RPC sponsored events.
Martel College's RPC Representative Oanh Truong said she believed the process of planning Rondelet should not have been led by only a few people.
"There are 11 college representatives which is a pretty representative sample, and we will probably have a better idea of when the event should be held," Truong, a sophomore, said.
Before winter break, no one knew if Rondelet was going to take place because of financial concerns, Truong said. The RPC representatives themselves were not told about the dance until the end of winter break and were instructed to sell tickets on just Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of last week, Truong said. RPC executives decided to cancel the dance at the end of the second day.
"To be told so suddenly that the dance was happening, with everything already settled but no one knowing about it was just wrong," Truong said. "You need to have some perspective on how other people think."
Last semester, 617 students attended Esperanza, short of the predicted 1,000.
"We reached our maximum of 800 students for Esperanza 2010 over a week before the event, and tickets were scalped for upwards of $100 on Facebook," Ulman said. "We decided to respond to this increased demand and chose a bigger venue this year."
RPC is currently investigating the potential causes for the record low ticket sales.
"We want to do everything we can to understand why students didn't respond as quickly and enthusiastically to Rondelet as they did last year," Ulman said. "We will be welcoming all input and opinions on a student survey within the next few weeks."
The organization is looking at the possibility of online ticket-purchasing through the RPC website as well as delivering tickets through campus mail, Sawyer said.
Though the event was canceled due to perceived low interest by the RPC executive council, some students had planned to go.
"My main concern was that they canceled it only two or three days after ticket sales became available," Hanszen College sophomore Mike Schubert said. "They sold them at lunch and I hadn't seen fliers or posters. I feel like they jumped the gun and that it should have been advertised a little bit better."
Rondelet was traditionally a spring-semester formal hosted the night of Beer Bike. In recent years, the intensity of Beer Bike celebrations left many students unable or unwilling to drag themselves to a late-night social gathering, and the dance slowly disappeared in the mid-1990s.
Students may share their ideas and input with RPC by emailing riceprogramcouncil@ gmail.com.
Ellen Liu and Hallie Jordan contributed to this article.
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