Spring Fling organizers aim for improved community relations

By Christie S. Peterson

Arizona Daily Wildcat

With this year's Spring Fling still two weeks away, organizers will be working to improve traditionally poor relations with surrounding neighborhoods this weekend.

Past years have seen many local complaints due to the crowds drawn by the largest student-run carnival in the country, so this year's participants will be volunteering pro-actively to clean up neighborhoods around the university in an event called "Spring Cleaning."

"People hate Spring Fling trash and graffiti," said Heidi Koopman, chief of staff for Associated Students of the University of Arizona Clubs and Organizations. "We're trying to create positive relations between the neighborhood and Spring Fling.

"The neighborhood brings us their time and patience, and we need to give back," she said.

A group of 500 volunteers, made up of two or three members from each group hosting a booth at this year's event, Spring Fling staff and anyone else willing to help, will descend on neighborhoods within a two-mile radius of the university to paint over graffiti and pick up trash Saturday morning.

This is the first time such a project, modeled after one held annually at the University of Texas, will be held at the UA and organizers hope it will continue to grow in coming years.

Lisa Silverman, Spring Fling Special Events director, said that her goal is to turn the event into a day-long affair during the school week, but that is still several years ahead.

Spring Fling will run April 6-9 on the McKale Center Lawn, with events including Wristband Night, which will give unlimited carnival rides to those that buy a wristband on Thursday, a concert by comedian Sandra Bernhard on Friday, and a concert by rap group Run DMC on Saturday.

For the first time this year, tickets for the event may be purchased in advance at Fry's stores through April 5. Admission is $3 for students and $4 for adults at Fry's, but $4 for students and $5 for adults at the fair.

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