For its much-anticipated return to campus, Spring Fling drew tens of thousands of attendees to the UA Mall over the weekend.
The annual student-run carnival attracted about 30,000 guests, including at least 10,000 UA students, for its 40th anniversary.
Nicole Schwalbe, a biochemistry sophomore, said she felt that Spring Fling’s return to campus made it seem more like a UA event than just an off-campus carnival.
“I think it benefitted because it was a lot more accessible to students, especially those without reliable transportation,” Schwalbe said.
Matt Madrid, a sophomore in the School of Information, Science, Technology and Arts, agreed that it was convenient to have Spring Fling on campus.
“Last year we had to take a bus to get to the fairgrounds,” Madrid said. “It was a bit of a hassle. This year we could bike our way there or walk our way there.”
Overall, the event was a success, said Jared Young, the executive director of Spring Fling and a senior studying accounting and finance.
“However you want to measure success, whether it’s attendance, excitement, satisfaction, feedback from other groups — all have been outstanding,” Young said. “I plan for the worst and hope for the best; all of it exceeded expectations.”
While Young could not say how much money was raised for clubs, Schwalbe said that she appreciated the clubs’ presence at Spring Fling.
“The fact that they still kept up with the tradition of the club booths was my favorite part because it benefits the students, and I got to eat deep fried Oreos,” Schwalbe said.
Fundraising for clubs was not the only benefit of the event though; attendees also brought in more than 1,800 books for Sunday’s promotional book drive, 300 more books than last year. Young said he expects that the number of cans donated during the event also rose with the increase in attendance.
Residents in the nearby Sam Hughes neighborhood, some of whom had originally objected to the carnival’s return, were mostly satisfied with the precautions Young and his team took to lessen the impact on the neighborhood, according to Young.
Positioning the speakers westward minimized the noise, and all the amplified noise was turned off at 10 p.m. every night. Young said he only knew of a few noise complaints, which he quickly took care of. Young added that he and several volunteers swept the neighborhood Saturday and Sunday morning for trash.
Although the decision regarding whether Spring Fling will remain on campus after this year has yet to be made, Young said that this year’s carnival will have a lasting effect, and that he hopes it will stay on the Mall.
“Students were engaged in a way that they hadn’t been before,” Young said, “whether it was us needing volunteers and grabbing people at the last minute or being so excited to see something of this magnitude being put on by the students for the campus.”
After two years of work and constant support from his staff and volunteers, Young said that he is still a little tongue-tied over bringing Spring Fling back to campus.
“Unbelievable. That’s the only thing I can say, just unbelievable,” Young said. “I’m still not sure this actually happened because I’ve waited so long and put so many hours of work into making sure that this would be the best event that it could be.”