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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA Spring Fling to return to campus for first time in 15 years

Kelsee Becker
Kelsee Becker / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA students, as well Tucson residents of all ages, enjoy the first night of Spring Fling on Thursday. The student run carnival features games, rides, and tasty treats every night through the weekend.

Planning is well underway for the 40th UA Spring Fling, which will be held on campus for the first time since 1999.

For at least the past four years, members of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona have been working with administration and the community to try to return Spring Fling, a student-run carnival, to campus. In April, ASUA members will see their efforts come to fruition.

“We’re just really excited to see how it goes,” said Morgan Abraham, ASUA president. “We’re focused on engaging the students, and we would love to have the biggest student-attended event in the history.”

The Spring Fling team, made up of about eight students, has been working on rough outlines for all aspects of the carnival, which serves as a fundraiser for campus clubs. The team formed an advisory committee that included collaborative partners ahead of the fall semester, according to Jared Young, the Spring Fling executive director.

“We’ve tried to be very conscious with how we proceed forward, not just on campus, but off campus as well,” Young said. “It’s just such a good opportunity that we really want to do it right the first time.”

One of the challenges the team has faced has been adapting the set model from previous Spring Fling events held at Rillito Downs to the UA campus, Young said. Considerations include parking, trash receptacles, portable restrooms and the placement of booths and rides.

Additionally, in response to community concerns, the carnival has been cut from four days to three days. The event will now run April 11-13.

There is $190,000 budgeted for putting on the carnival, but Young said the Spring Fling team anticipates it to cost less than that because of the shortening of the event.

“We’d gotten to the point where we had costs under pretty good control at Rillito Downs,” Young said. “We’re trying to maintain that lean attitude as we move back to campus. … I want it to be fun and big, but I’m being very cost-conscious with what we’re trying to do.”

In the weekly meetings, UA partners who have weighed in include Parking and Transportation Services, Facilities Management and Risk Management Services, to name a few.

Some of the conversation has regarded maintaining access routes for emergency vehicles. This means there will be no rides located in the roads on the sides of the Mall, according to Herb Wagner, the UA Fire Marshal and the director of occupational and environmental health and safety.

There will be a fence around the Spring Fling grounds, but where the fence crosses the roads there will be manned gates in order to provide quicker access for emergency vehicles. Staff will also inspect the rides for fire code violations and check for tripping hazards on the grounds, Wagner said.

Some of the planning has also involved scaling down the number of rides and booths to fit, according to Melissa Vito, vice provost for Academic Initiatives & Student Success and senior vice president for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management.

In an email interview, Vito said there are some additional costs involved due to the move, such as ensuring there is enough parking on campus to minimize or eliminate any impact on the surrounding neighborhoods.

In addition to setup, student organizers are also planning for the actual carnival events. There will also be alumni events held in order to place an emphasis on the history of Spring Fling.

Last year’s carnival drew between 2,000 and 3,000 students, in addition to thousands of Tucson community members. Young said he anticipates a larger student crowd attending the spring event because of the move to campus. He added that he hopes the event will stay on campus in years to come.

“I just want it to stay a campus tradition,” Young said, “and to continue to be a selling point for the university and a point of pride, not just for the university, but for the students as well. … This is something basically the entire community can enjoy.”

– Follow Brittny Mejia @BrittnyAriel

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