BSD: The Facts

April 4, 2019  |   Found in News

Since we announced that we’re moving Bermuda Shorts Day inside this year, there has been a lot of misinformation circulating among students. We’d like to take this opportunity to be crystal clear about the reasons behind our decision and address some rumours that are going around.

Why we decided to move BSD inside

We decided to move BSD inside for several reasons:

  1. We hope to revitalize an event which has seen a steadily declining attendance over the past number of years.
  2. We hope to cater to a diverse student body by offering more drink, food, activity, and music options. This is something students have told us they want.
  3. We would like to avoid the unpredictable weather in Calgary. The weather has been bad more often than good over the last decade.
  4. Lastly, due to the decreasing attendance and popularity of BSD along with the high costs of the event (most of which were imposed by the university), we decided that hosting BSD outside was no longer financially responsible.

We cannot continue to host an event that runs a $100,000 deficit, especially when attendance levels suggest to us that most students don’t care about it any more. Our hope is that a smaller event will attract the students who care about BSD so they can enjoy an event which is much more than just a concert in a parking lot.

Can’t the SU afford to absorb the costs?

You may have heard that $100,000 isn’t a big deal to the SU and that we run million-dollar surpluses every year, but that’s not true.

It costs a lot of money to manage the MacEwan Student Centre and run all the programs and services we do. Further, we’re a not-for-profit organization so any excess revenue we generate is used to create new programs or services, is contributed to contingency funds, and is used to pay down the loans we have that allow us to constantly renovate and refresh spaces for students (like what we’re doing with the Mac Hall ballroom right now). We’re confident most students would like us to do that with our profits rather than continue to pour it into an increasingly expensive and unpopular event.

Our budgets and audited finances are all online for you to see. We know that most of you don’t have experience reading documents like this, so if you have any questions about what you see our VP Operations and Finance would be happy to answer your questions.

Wristbands and Capacity

There will be 5,000 wristbands available this year. The capacity for the event is 2,600.

We’ve always given out more wristbands than there is space at BSD – when it was in the parking lot, we would give out 10,000 wristbands even though the capacity was 4,400. We do this for three reasons:

  1. In our experience, about half of students who pick up wristbands don’t show up for the event.
  2. We have also found that students don’t come for the whole event. Instead, they come for an hour or two and then head out.
  3. Finally, attendance has been dropping steadily. Last year we had fewer than 5,000 students attend BSD.

We know the safest place for students is inside our event, so we make decisions about the quantity of wristbands to ensure that the students who want to attend BSD can get in as quickly as possible and that the event will be full and fun.


There’s a rumour going around that the SU is working to shut down parties at D-Block to boost attendance at our event. That’s not true, period.

While we do sit on the university’s taskforce which has discussed off-campus events such as D-Block, we have no say in what the university does to address community concerns about these events. Any insinuation that the SU has directed the Calgary Police Service in any way is incorrect. We encourage students to celebrate the end of their semester in a responsible way, no matter where that is.

I have more questions, who can I talk to?

We really appreciate all the students who have reached out for clarification or to express concern about the changes to BSD. The SU only makes decisions after consulting with students and considering all the data we have available. If you feel like there’s feedback we need to hear before deciding what to do with BSD next year, or if you have more questions about this year’s event, please let us know. Our VP Student Life is happy to address any questions or comments you have.

For more information on BSD, check out our website.

To learn more about all the other great things the SU does for you, explore our website or check out our annual Report to the Community.