U’s Spring Jam 2005 festivities begin

Spring Jam organizers estimated the cost of this year's event at $95,000.

Stephanie Gregory

After months of planning, the annual campus event Spring Jam started this weekend as students began competing in athletics contests.

“Stayin’ Alive in 2005” is this year’s theme, and organizers said they are expecting more than 50,000 students to participate.

The event started in 1913 and has become the largest student-run event at the University.

With athletics competitions, the ballyhoo dance battle, speakers and other events, Spring Jam ends Saturday with a show by alternative rock band Everclear.

Though it’s now one of the most attended campus events of the year, the event was aimed to raise funds for an all-men’s building approximately 90 years ago.

Students raised the money by organizing a campus circus called Campus Carnival.

The event didn’t become an annual occasion until 1949.

Known as Campus Carnie, it continued every spring until 1991, when a stabbing of a student at a 1987 party initiated the decline of the carnival.

In 1998, Spring Jam debuted with a new name and a new purpose: to engage students in an end-of-the-year celebration.

Spring Jam organizers estimated the cost of this year’s weeklong event at $95,000, predominantly paid for by student fees and business and campus sponsorships.

The Minnesota Student Association and Minnesota Programs and Activities Council contributed a combined $27,500.

Though this year’s Spring Jam will cost more overall, less student fees will help pay for it.

In 2004, Spring Jam cost approximately $68,000, said Jay Arcuri, a professional adviser for the Minnesota Programs and Activities Council.

Organizers said they have high expectations for this year’s Spring Jam.

Travis Fischer, a senior and Spring Jam co-coordinator, said he wants many students to participate and is wishing for nice weather.

“I have never kept track of the weather as much as I have the past few days. I hope the weather is nice,” Fischer said.

“I want people to come out, and have fun, and enjoy their time. We have put a lot of planning and hard work into it.”

Spring Jam has been plagued with harsh weather the last few years.

MSA donated $13,500 to assist with the level of programming at this year’s Spring Jam.

Tom Zearley, MSA president, said he hopes the organization’s donation to Spring Jam promotes student involvement.

“Spring Jam really encourages campus spirit and fosters friendship – those are the things you remember when you leave college,” he said.

Students volunteered for several months putting Spring Jam together.

Arcuri commended the students on their hard work.

“Everyone puts in a lot of hard work. Even the volunteers receive intensive training,” Arcuri wrote in an e-mail.

Arcuri advises students coordinating Spring Jam by helping them navigate through University policies and the appropriate offices that facilitate events, he said.

“I am here to guide and assist them in developing as leaders, as well as make a complex process as easy as possible,” Arcuri said.

Megan Sweet, Student Activities Office interim director of programs and activities, said she believes students deserve credit for putting together the event.

“The actual implementation of Spring Jam is the result of the students’ tireless planning,” Sweet said.

Some events include a presentation by “Sex and the City” author Candace Bushnell and a comedy show by Dan Ahdoot.

Fischer, who committed more than 200 office hours throughout the fall and spring semesters co-planning Spring Jam, said he is looking forward to the week’s events finally being played out.

Jerry Rinehart, vice provost for student affairs, said Spring Jam is for students to have fun.

“It’s great to see the excitement among the student body about this spring event,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for students to kick back, relax, have some fun and celebrate the hard work during the year.”