UA Spring Fling could return to campus in 2014
After years of planning, members of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona are pushing to bring Spring Fling back to campus for its 40th anniversary next spring.
Spring Fling has been off campus for about 10 years, which has caused lower attendance rates and lower profits for clubs, according to Katy Murray, ASUA president. The plan is to bring the event back on campus for its anniversary next year in hopes of fueling attendance and revenue, Murray said. However, this semester, the carnival will remain off-campus at Rillito Downs Park.
Spring Fling is the largest student-run carnival, the largest club fundraiser hosted by the ASUA and the primary funding source for some clubs on campus, according to Murray.
The event is budgeted approximately $190,000 a year, according to Paige Sager, the ASUA administrative vice president, though the cost varies year to year.
Currently, there are a variety of stakeholders who have a large say in whether or not the event will be brought back to campus, including the Sam Hughes neighborhood, the Dance and Optics buildings on campus, Parking and Transportation, Risk Management and Facilities Management, among others. Murray said she is working with ASUA members to ensure all concerns are addressed.
Some of the obstacles to getting the event back on campus involve noise, cleanliness, physical space and security, Murray said.
Noise is one of the biggest concerns because the event is so loud, it could cause disruptions to classes and even in the Sam Hughes neighborhood, Murray said. She added that these concerns would be addressed and dealt with to make the carnival successful if it were to come back on campus. Some suggestions to keep the noise down included closing the event earlier than usual or potentially shortening the overall duration of the event.
Last year, there was a roundtable meeting where potential stakeholders sat down and discussed concerns about hosting the event on campus, according to James Allen, former ASUA President.
Although the idea of bringing Spring Fling back on campus might seem new, it has been in the works for about four years, Allen said. The original idea came from Emily Fritze, the 2010-2011 ASUA president. Allen added that the main goal, besides bringing the event back to campus for its anniversary, is to generate more revenue for the clubs and to raise attendance.
Last semester ASUA members surveyed students to see how they felt about the event coming back to campus, according to ASUA Sen. Logan Bilby. He added there was one survey for freshman and one for sophomores through seniors. They are still waiting on the official results of the survey, Bilby said, but it “seems as though they [students] would be more in favor of a carnival on campus.”
Spring Fling was first established in 1974, according to Jared Young, the event’s executive director. The event was held on the Mall for 25 years and was then moved off campus due to the construction of the Manuel Pacheco Integrated Learning Center.
Since the event is off campus, it is hard to get students to come, even with a free shuttle service, Young said.
“I think it will be a lot better because it will be closer, and I think a lot more people will definitely go to it,” said Kelli Vu, a creative writing junior. “Of course there are CatTrans and everything, but they take a while. I’ve been on the CatTran [to Spring Fling] and there is not enough space in the CatTrans.”
Last year, the event raised an average of $1500 per club, according to Young. He added it would be great to have the event come back to campus because its primary goal is to act as a club fundraiser.
“We are here as a club fundraiser,” Young said. “If the clubs do well, we do well. If the clubs don’t do well, we don’t do well.”
Murray said that her goal is to have heard the final decision on whether or not Spring Fling will return to campus for 2014 by the end of her term.
“It would be ideal to meet with everyone before Spring Fling of 2013,” Murray said. “That way, we can show people all the things we’ve been working on at this year’s Spring Fling and show them how much the event has grown within the last 10 years when we brought it off-campus in the first place.”