terms of the agreement signed by the university, DNKL and Office of
Tibet/New York representatives in January affirmed several important
conditions that apply to all of the Dalai Lama’s overseas speaking
Holiness will not charge a fee for his talks, and all event expenses
must be covered exclusively by ticket sales, sponsorships and other
revenues generated in connection with the visit. Neither the
university nor DNKL will use institutional funds to pay for event
costs, and neither will profit from the event.
If income from event revenues and sponsor donations should exceed
total expenses for the visit, the surplus will be disbursed to
charitable organizations approved by the Office of His Holiness and
the Office of Tibet/New York. Forty percent of these charitable
funds would be set aside to benefit one or more programs designated
by the university and DNKL and approved by the Office of His
Holiness, in areas of academic study, scholarship or other themes
appropriate to the Dalai Lama’s visit.
The Office of Tibet/New York has reviewed and approved ticket
policies for the event to ensure that pricing affords maximum public
access to His Holiness’s talks. Bechard noted that approximately 40
percent of the 3,500 seats on sale for each talk have been priced at
$40 or less, with additional provisions made to encourage student
One of the important lessons drawn from ticket sales for Dalai Lama
visits at other universities has been the establishment of a
random-draw system to select ticket applicants who then will be
invited to purchase up to two tickets for the talk of their choice
at the university box office. Bechard observed that the steering
committee had learned that direct online ticket sales have proven
vulnerable to block purchases by ticket wholesalers, which typically
mark up prices substantially for resale to the public.
An initial random draw for a limited number of seats was held this
spring for members of the WCSU and DNKL communities. The general
public will be invited to submit ticket requests online through the
Dalai Lama portal on the WCSU website in a second random draw
beginning the week of June 25, with draw selections to be announced
online weekly until all seats available have been awarded.
Successful ticket applicants will be provided instructions to
confirm and pay for their ticket reservations at the WCSU Box
“This offers a good way for us to be fair,” Bechard noted, while
offering an effective means to discourage purchases of large ticket
blocks for resale at a profit. “Our goal is to ensure that everyone
has an equal chance to get tickets through random draws,” she said.
The scale of the event budget, which Bechard estimated at just under
$350,000, reflects the magnitude of the undertaking in arranging
this historic visit. Among the important challenges that must be
sites for ticket holders for the Oct. 18 and 19 talks will be
established off campus, and a fleet of 40 buses will transport the
3,500 guests at each event to and from the O’Neill Center.
Bus service to accommodate
such a massive people-moving challenge represents the single largest
expense of the event, Bechard noted.
Security: The security of
the Dalai Lama is a major priority in organization of the visit, and
His Holiness will be under the protection of the U.S. State
Department throughout his visit to the United States. Requirements
include provisions for security sweeps and lockdown of the O’Neill
Center in the week prior to the event, and security checkpoints at
all entrances to prevent entrance with prohibited items. Danbury and
WCSU police and support staff will be assigned to cover security
tasks at the O’Neill Center and Westside campus, as well as assist
with traffic control.
Staging: Aside from
transportation, the contracted services for professional sound,
lighting and media systems represent the most significant expense of
the event. Plans call for placement of Jumbotron screens on either
side of the stage, as well as video equipment to record the talks
and to stream them live for real-time viewing on the WCSU website
and at several Danbury area schools. “The Office of Tibet/New York
encouraged us to use social media,” Bechard said. “His Holiness is
very interested in social media; he has a Twitter account and a
Facebook account, and you can watch many of his talks on YouTube.”
Travel and lodging:
Proceeds from the event also will defray the expenses for
transportation of the Dalai Lama and his staff from his prior
appearance at Brown University in Rhode Island to Danbury, as well
as lodging and meal expenses during their stay.
The cost for the Dalai Lama’s international travel to the
United States will be paid proportionately from revenues raised from
his appearances during his autumn visit at WCSU, Brown and
Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The steering committee plans to interview
applicants from the WCSU and DNKL communities to fill volunteer
service tasks essential to running the event. Volunteer assignments
will include ushers to seat guests at the event; guides at the event
parking sites and on transport buses to the O’Neill Center; support
staff at entrance security points to check prohibited items for
reclaiming after the event; and other hospitality services at the
Cover photo: This
logo was created in honor of the visit of His Holiness the 14th
Dalai Lama. The heart is the center with
the spokes of circle radiating out to the circle of life and the
interconnection of all things. The five colors in the center are
from the Tibetan prayer flags. The 5 colors of prayer
flags represent the five basic elements: yellow-earth, green–water,
red-fire, white-air, blue-space. Balancing these elements externally
brings harmony to the environment. Balancing the elements internally
brings health to the body and the mind.
Above photo: President Schmotter and a
representative from the Office of Tibet/New York.