The Social Planning and Events Committee announced last week that Spring Fling will take place in Penn Park instead of the Quad, breaking a 45-year-old tradition. According to members of the current Spring Fling Committee, the decision has been a long time in the making.
One of the three Fling directors and College junior Michelle Dziedzic said that SPEC is always trying to improve the event, and that this idea had been brought up in the past, but only came to fruition this year.
College junior Julia DaSilva, who currently serves as SPEC secretary and Spring Fling liaison and previously served as Fling director, said that in the past SPEC has been "hesitant" to make this change, but the current committee's past experience planning Fling gave them the confidence to move locations.
She added that one of the motivations was to increase turnout, which she said has significantly dwindled in the past few years.
“When you see those photos of the Quad filled with people, and people jumping off the stage, and having fun, like that hasn’t actually happened since like five or six years ago," DaSilva said. "So it definitely came from us as students to revitalize Fling, and sort of bring it back to the glory of what it was in the '70s.”
One of the Fling directors and College sophomore Chris Mountanos said the committee decided that centralizing Fling festivities to one place on one day might increase turnout, since last year there was low turnout on both days.
Mountanos, who is also a social media staffer on The Daily Pennsylvanian, added that the Fling headliner concert had a very successful turnout last year after moving from Franklin Field to Penn Park.
DaSilva said funding for the Fling festivities will not be cut, despite shortening Fling from two days to one. She added that she hopes the decision to host festivities only on Saturday will encourage a greater attendance as it will not coincide with Friday classes.
The Fling Committee had been discussing the idea of moving out of the Quad since before summer 2017, and made a proposal to administration this past September. The proposal was approved on Jan. 28, the same day the group made the public announcement.
"The biggest safety factor considered by folks in their various areas of administrative responsibility had to do with egress in and out of Penn Park," Executive Director of Student Affairs Katie Bonner said in an emailed statement to the DP. "It will be a new challenge to consider managing thousands of students over the course of the day.”
Still, opinions about the change are split among students, especially among student performing groups.
Priscilla Felten, Wharton sophomore and former Quad resident, said that she is in favor of the change, citing the difficulties Fling poses for Quad residents due to security measures that increase each year.
“It was definitely a struggle for people who lived in the Quad to get into their buildings because you could only enter in your exact building, and many of us were used to going into a different building to get to our floor,” Felten said.
However, College freshman and Quad resident Charles Thomas disagrees, and said he feels that Fling’s further location is an inconvenience for freshmen.
“I will attend regardless even though it’s further away, but I’m a proactive kind of guy,” Thomas said. “If there’s someone who’s kind of lazy, I don’t think they’ll walk fifteen minutes to Penn Park for something they’re not that interested in — whereas if it was something right outside their rooms, they might be more willing to go.”
College freshman Georgia Ray, a Daily Pennsylvanian design associate, said she felt disappointed about the announcement at first, but she's come to accept the Committee's decision.
“I was really excited to have it centrally located around where I live,” Ray said. “I guess they have a good point, and they’re trying to revitalize it, so I guess if they think that is what’s best then I think it’s for the best too.”
Dziedzic said she anticipates public skepticism and she's optimistic that people will come around.
“We can make Fling into something better than it was before," Dziedzic said. "That will convince people that it was kind of a good change.”
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