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Spring Carnival Revived By APO To Promote Community Growth

By Orli G. Bahcall
ASSOCIATE NEWS EDITOR

Alpha Phi Omega plans to revive its Spring Carnival this year after the carnival's 20-year absence from campus.

The carnival will take place on April 26, the Saturday after the spring semester drop date, on Kresge Oval.

The carnival is meant to be "in the spirit of Spring Weekend, where people come out and have fun. We're just trying to organize it on a larger scale, to bring more of the campus out to have fun," said Carnival Chairman Lan-Chun Chang '98.

APOis a coed national service fraternity that has been active in promoting public service at MIT for 60 years.

Chang decided to resurrect the tradition of a Spring Carnival, formerly an annual event held by APO, while she was "looking through some APO archives."

As of yet, there are no specific plans for this year's Carnival. "We are trying to keep the structure loose enough to accommodate what people are interested in and keep them involved," Chang said.

Attractions of the last Carnival included an egg and flap jack toss, where participants would toss food as high into the air as possible and attempt to catch it in a pan.

This just goes to show that "people can be so creative here - and pretty funny too," Chang said.

Two other activities popular at earlier carnivals among fraternities were a car smashing and a race to see who could disassemble a donated piano the fastest, said Oscar A. Rodriquez '99.

"These examples attracted me to the idea of a more student-run events and booths," Chang said.

Carnival will unite student groups

While the student body "still has large gatherings, we have nothing where we can gather along with our professors and the people of the community," Rodriquez said. Most student activities now are aimed toward a specific group of students, he said.

By inviting all MIT-affiliated personnel and students as well as members of nearby communities, APO hopes to bring the student body back together while promoting interaction between students and the rest of the community, Rodriquez said.

The Spring Carnival is an ideal way to "get the MIT spirit going in full force and encourage interaction between groups," Chang said.

APO alumni recall that when the carnival was held several decades ago at MIT, there was much more friendly interaction among living groups, Chang said.

The carnival "should be big and draw a lot of people. We hope to get lots of interaction between different groups of students that we have here. MIT is a very diverse place and has lots of different people interested in different things," Chang said.

Carnival has several goals

There are two main incentives for student groups to participate, Rodriquez said. First, the carnival is a good fundraiser for the groups who participate in it. Second, the carnival is a service to the community. A percentage of all the money raised at Spring Carnival will be donated to a charity, he said.

Spring Carnival was started to allow student groups to "come out and run a fundraising activity and provide a service for the community" and let APO deal with the paper work, Rodriquez said.

APOis not currently trying to pressure student groups to get involved, Rodriquez said. Rather, APO is hoping that student groups will want to get involved once they see that the entire community will be interested.

Informational packets have been sent to living groups and activities to describe the plans for the carnival. Application packets for groups to register booths at the carnival will go out in early November and will have to be turned in by early December.

By asking for responses so early, APO hopes to get a feeling as to whether "there is enough interest for the carnival to be feasible," Chang said.

Questions about the carnival should can be sent to carnival@mit.edu.

APO holds several service events for the MIT community throughout the year, including the Big Screw and Ugliest Manifestation On Campus competitions.

The fraternity also sponsors weekly service activities ranging from taking trips to public shelters and food banks to building schoolyard playgrounds to helping clean up the Charles River.