Spring Jam to go ‘Coast to Coast’

Organizers hope to draw more than 7,000 students to this year’s Spring Jam, which culminates with a block party Saturday.

Unlike last year, Spring Jam 2004 activities will be spread out across the University campuses to encourage increased student participation.

Organizers said they hope to draw more than 7,000 students throughout the events of the week, coined “Coast to Coast.”

The 16-member planning committee characterized each day with a different road trip theme, beginning with “Packin’ Up” on Sunday.

By scheduling most major programming for Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, the committee hopes to give students breathers between big days, said Dave Hansen, co-chair of the planning committee.

Student Activities Office program adviser Erich Martin said he believes new features at different locations will help to include more University students.

“We’re going to distribute the wealth so people who live on the West Bank or in St. Paul don’t miss out,” Martin said. “This is supposed to be a campus-wide event.”

New activities include partnerships with the Minnesota AIDS Project and Volkswagen.

“Philanthropically, we’re giving more than we have in the past,” Hansen said. “On Monday there are usually skits that no one really likes. Instead we’re having a game show for the Minnesota AIDS Project.”

Also today, students can play video games against their friends or University student-athletes at Coffman Union, Martin said.

On Wednesday, Martin said, many events are planned throughout the campuses at the same time.

Volkswagen will offer free test drives on the St. Paul campus. The radio station KDWB (101.3 FM) will be on hand at the Riverbend Plaza, along with games and food. Acoustic bands will play on the West Bank plaza, Martin said.

“I’m most excited about Wednesday,” Hansen said. “We have programming all over campus. Ö There’s so much going on that day.”

Hansen said the most anticipated event is typically the Saturday night “Spring Jam Block Party” held on Church Street.

The party is the last Spring Jam event and includes the annual Ballyhoo finals, a dance competition and performances by four bands. Mr. and Ms. Spring Jam will also be crowned.

“We’re kind of nervous about the block party because we have no big headliner,” Hansen said.

Security at Saturday’s block party is an issue that Hansen and Martin said will be addressed.

“We met with police after last year’s block party and they were extremely pleased,” Martin said. “The only problem was that we hadn’t anticipated so big a crowd.”

“This year we will have more manpower where it’s needed,” Hansen said.

Planners estimate Spring Jam 2004 should bring attendance similar to last year’s 7,000 people, if the weather cooperates.