Spring Jam begins with future in doubt

by Robyn Repya

Students spent Monday outside to participate in what some fear could be the last celebration of Spring Jam as it’s currently known.

After the Student Services Fees Committee reduced the Twin Cities Student Unions’ funding request, union officials expressed concern programming would be cut. One of the first things on the chopping block, they said, is the week-long spring celebration.

“It would be real sad if it wasn’t taking place next year,” said advertising sophomore Michelle Vervais.

She was one of approximately 150 students cleaning streets and yards in the Dinkytown and Marcy-Holmes neighborhoods Monday as part of Spring Jam’s community service project.

“It’s a real way to unite the University,” Vervais said.

University President Mark Yudof and Vice President for Student Life Robert Jones must still approve the fees slate before it’s submitted to the Board of Regents for final review.

Carol Bjorklund, TCSU program director, said although the fees requests aren’t yet finalized, the $3.3 million recommendations don’t hold much hope for future events like Spring Jam.

“We would like to not have to do away with it,” she said.

In addition to Spring Jam, Bjorklund said many other large student events, such as the Roxy and Bijou film festivals, Winterfest and Homecoming would also feel the financial pinch.

But Tyler Richter, fees committee subcommittee chairman, said it’s “ridiculous” for TCSU to threaten to do away with programs and events.

“They used scare tactics,” he said.

Richter said the fees committee recommended granting TCSU 80 percent of its requested $3.7 million this year.

“By only cutting 20 percent, they said it would translate to a 90 percent cut in programs – including Spring Jam of course,” he said.

Richter said TCSU is using the possible loss of programs like Spring Jam as propaganda because it’s one of the most visible events they sponsor.

“Most students really like it and want it,” he said.

Bjorklund said if TCSU doesn’t get its requested funding, it will not mean the absolute end of Spring Jam.

She said the celebration next year, which would be held in the newly renovated Coffman Union, would be smaller and only two days long.

“We wouldn’t be able to do a big block party like this year, with three bands,” Bjorklund said.

Bjorklund said she’s not giving up on the possibility of getting more money from the administration.

“We’re hoping Vice President Jones and the regents will help us out,” she said. “We’re remaining optimistic and hopeful.”

Richter said although Coffman Union is reopening, the organization does not need an increase as big as last year’s $2.9 million fees allotment.

Spring Jam co-chairman Jim Schweigert, a public relations senior, said next year the committee will work hard for a fun event, regardless of the final fees decision.

“We might have more of a reliance on outside sponsorship,” he said.

Schweigert said radio stations and local restaurants might help to keep the celebration going.

“It’s really important to have a celebration at the end of the year,” he said.