Spring Jam raises money for children

by Max Rust

It is once again the time year when students commuting between classes are greeted by warm weather, green grass and someone trying to coax them to either sign or purchase something.
On the West Bank on Monday, several students tried to get their peers to purchase merchandise branded with the logo for this year’s Spring Jam festival.
But unlike the many peddlers on campus, these purveyors were not out to fill the pockets of credit-card company executives. Instead, they were raising funds for Camp Heartland, a Wisconsin retreat for children with AIDS and the HIV virus.
“We’ve had students coming up to us; we’ve even had faculty coming and buying our buttons,” said Kristen Moore, a Spring Jam coordinator and public relations sophomore.
Spring Jam volunteers from many campus organizations sold buttons, mugs, T-shirts and soda from one of the Spring Jam sponsors.
The Spring Jam committee is also reaching out to the community for support and will be selling goods at places such as the Metrodome, said Erin Fields, the philanthropy coordinator and an economics senior.
But the sales were only one event listed for Monday, the festival’s Kick-Off Day. Other events included a tie-dyeing session, an ice-cream social and an appearance by the band Heed.
For the rest of the week, the Spring Jam executive committee will hold several campuswide events, climaxing Saturday with a block party in Dinkytown.
Last year, the Spring Jammers raised $20,000 for Camp Heartland. They hope to increase that figure this year, Moore said.
This year’s festival boasts the theme “Passport to Paradise” — paradise being the University’s Spring Jam, explained Nadine Babu, the committee’s block-party coordinator and a marketing senior.
An addition to this year’s festival includes an appearance Wednesday by three cast members of the controversial “Real World” show on MTV.
As in every year, Spring Jam will feature the royalty competition. The royalty are picked at the end of the week after they gain enough “spirit points.”
To acquire a “spirit point,” the royalty candidates accomplish a number of tasks, including wearing maroon and gold colors, plastic leis and hula skirts, and being “really energetic, trying to attract more interest from students and trying to get them involved with what’s going on,” Moore explained.
Perhaps the biggest change this year is the block party’s return to Dinkytown, which will feature a free concert series, food and a beer garden provided by a Dinkytown establishment. Last year, the party was held in front of Coffman Union, and in 1998, the party was held on a parking lot where more than 500 fans trammeled the gates seeking free access to a Violent Femmes concert.
Spring Jam coordinators said the new location will undoubtedly attract more people than the past two.
“It’s a lot more accessible this way. It’s right in the heart of campus, and we think it will be a great turnout,” Babu said.
When asked if she thought the beer garden would attract more people this year, said Babu: “I think the atmosphere will attract more people.”

Max Rust welcomes comments at [email protected].