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Editorial: Spring Fling headed in the right direction

Arizona Daily Wildcat,
September 24, 1999

University of Arizona Spring Fling directors have a lot on their plates this year.

Not only do they have to organize the largest student-run carnival in the U.S., but both UA renovations and economic hardships have created additional problems for the coordinators.

Their main setback - UA Mall construction is forcing the annual event to relocate off campus and could hinder Spring Fling's success.

Poor weather, mediocre attendance and unstable income have also plagued the carnival, which draws Tucsonans and students alike into a weekend of games and rides.

But at Wednesday night's Associated Students Senate meeting, Spring Fling Director Craig Haubrich demonstrated he has a firm plan that could counteract the carnival's deficiencies.

Haubrich and his co-directors have decided to move the event to Rillito Downs race track in Tucson's north side.

It's a dangerous maneuver, especially because Spring Fling is a University of Arizona event that attracts many UA students, staffers, area families and - most importantly - their money.

However, since the UA area offers no suitable locations for Spring Fling's girth, Rillito Downs is an acceptable site - with one exception.

Haubrich must consider the limited transportation capabilities of some UA students, specifically freshmen who are new to Tucson.

Spring Fling's coordinators should immediately begin doing business with SunTran and UA shuttle operators to ensure that students are offered free transportation to the new site. Haubrich also announced Wednesday night that parking will be free at Rillito Downs during Spring Fling - another charitable move.

But Haubrich must be careful about being too charitable.

He also announced Wednesday night that admission to the carnival event will be free and the specialized wristbands, which allow visitors unlimited free rides, will be discounted.

The idea, he said, is to encourage a larger number of people to attend.

While students and Tucsonans will appreciate the savings, the directors should be extremely cautious about instituting discounts, as they are gambling with money that does not belong to them.

The UA offers Spring Fling a loan, which allows them to pay for the rides and other expenses. If the event is a success, the loan is repaid.

But, as exemplified last year when the carnival was rained out for two of its four days, resulting in a monetary disaster, thousands of university dollars can be lost.

Haubrich is obviously a smart young businessman, but he should remember to tread lightly when making these big decisions.

Economically, this is an important event for UA clubs and organizations, since they reap the profits.

As a tradition, it's one of the few left for UA students that hasn't been lost over time.

Spring Fling appears to be headed in the right direction and the planning seems firm.

Let's make sure the most important traditions - specifically the availability to younger Tucsonans and UA students - are kept alive during these trying times for Spring Fling.

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