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The entrance fee to the Lancaster University Student Union’s club, The Sugarhouse, has increased to £6.00. The price rise caused a wave of discontent among students, and resulted in a twitter campaign called “#boycottsugar”. LUSU have emphasised that the price rise has in fact been introduced to solve problems with the Sugarhouse which were a source of previous student complaint.
The LUSU President Joel Pullan told SCAN: “There is the perception that Sugarhouse have unfairly increased prices, when in fact for the most part, they have not.
“What the new Sugarhouse ticketing system will require however is the forward planning to buy online e-tickets. If students have a purple card and buy e-tickets the cost will be exactly the same. The price rises occur if you are a student (or +1) without a purple card, who has not purchased an e-ticket, and arrives after the e-ticket queue closes at 11.30pm.”
LUSU Vice President (Union Development) Laurence Pullan added “The Sugarhouse are trying to encourage our students to forward plan and buy tickets online.”
LUSU therefore suggest that students plan ahead before setting out for The Sugarhouse. Many of them have, however, voiced the opinion that going out is something you don’t usually schedule.
“It is the other way around,” one first year student told SCAN. “Usually you plan not to go out, and then you end up going anyway.”
Pullan said that the positive implications of the rise were twofold: to alleviate the main issue raised by student feedback on queuing times and also to ensure that regular Sugarhouse attendees can receive rewards for their commitment to the venue. “The data we collect from e-ticket purchases can be used to thank our students,” Pullan told SCAN.
Solving issues regarding queuing was something that LUSU also want to emphasise with this change: “if people buy tickets online they will not be financially penalised and indeed will help to alleviate the main concern with the venue – the queues!” Pullan said.
Joel Pullan added: “…having an e-ticket system addresses the number one complaint about Sugarhouse, the queuing times. Removing the money handling process of paying on the door will significantly reduce queue times, something I feel on balance outweighs the perceived cons of the ticket restructure…”
The “#boycottsugar” campaign began on October 16th and has grown steady pace since then. One of the students involved posted on the day of the campaign’s inception: “£6 for Sugar is such a joke though, it’s at least double everywhere else! Guess we won’t be going anymore.”
In response to the discontent among students, Laurence Pullan concluded: “hopefully people will realise this is a change for the positive and is not meant to be a financially aggressive move. It is to, inevitably, try and benefit our students, as student feedback and input is what drives our organisation. As always, I’m happy for people to contact me about the services we offer, and will always strive to represent students as best I can.”