UI's bill for Vice President Joe Biden's visit: $30,000

 

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URBANA — A week's worth of planning for a visit from the vice president generated some interesting numbers on campus.

The University of Illinois is still tabulating the final cost of Thursday's event, but spokeswoman Robin Kaler estimated the total at about $30,000. Most of the materials purchased will be reused, however, so the net cost is probably closer to $25,000, she said.

The chancellor's office will cover all expenses, using no state or tuition money, she said.

Labor costs were all internal — paying another campus unit to live-stream Joe Biden's speech, for example, she said.

The campus did buy more than 4,700 linear feet of lumber to build bleachers for the event, but it will be reused, she said.

Other costs included 500 "It's On Us" T-shirts and other signs for the event, which was centered around the sexual-assault prevention campaign.

The U.S. government covered all travel, Secret Service and other expenses associated with its employees during the vice president's trip, she said.

The "It's On Us" campaign also paid for the lighting and media-riser rental for the event, held at Campus Recreation Center-East.

The rec center, which had closed prior to the vice president's speech at 1 p.m. Thursday, reopened by 4:15 p.m. The gym reopened at 7 p.m.

Because of the event, the UI doubled the number of "It's On Us" pledges taken by members of the campus community, now at 3,162, Kaler noted.

"We know that our student leaders had a once-in-a-lifetime experience in working with White House planners and participating in a vice presidential visit. Finally, we saw that many students listened intently as the vice president gave a powerful speech asking them to stand up and protect each other," Kaler wrote in an assessment for Chancellor Phyllis Wise. "(I)f the event changes one heart, it was well worth the time and investment we made."

VP visit, by the numbers:

32 Student volunteers

50 Gallons of drinking water

500 "It's On Us" T-shirts (1 for the VP)

1,000 Feet of bike racks

4,708 Linear feet of lumber

6 Student selfies in the VP's limo

1 Tweet from Biden to Illinois Student Senate VP Matt Hill (which got 85 retweets and 185 favorites)

0 Planes stuck in the mud

Reporter/Columnist

Julie Wurth is a reporter covering the University of Illinois at The News-Gazette. Her email is jwurth@news-gazette.com, and you can follow her on Twitter (@jawurth).