The Rewarding Challenges of Managing Spring Fling: Gabi Videla '18 and Chance Stewart '18
March 16, 2018
Gabi Videla ’18 BSBA (Business Economics) and Chance Stewart ’18 BSBA (Business Economics).
Why did you choose Eller and business economics?
Chance: When I came to school, I knew that I wanted to be a business major. After taking the prerequisites for Eller, I found that I was really interested in a more mathematically based major.
Gabi: I chose Eller and business economics because they gave me the most avenues to learn about the world.
What professional experience have you had so far?
Chance: Since being in college, I was a marketing intern for a racetrack in Phoenix for car racing. I was also an event production and marketing intern for a racing series this past summer. Currently, I work as an office assistant for the Eller College development and alumni relations team. A lot of my experience has been in marketing and event production, and when I came to Eller I knew they had a great marketing program. I really wanted a financial background to make myself more versatile and combine economics with my marketing experience.
Gabi: The summer after my first year, I had an internship in Barcelona, Spain as a marketing intern. I also had an accounting internship during my sophomore year, and this past summer I worked for Goldman Sachs as an operations intern. Currently, I work in the Eller undergraduate office as the honors student coordinator, which is the assistant to the honors advisor.
Can you tell us a bit more about Spring Fling?
Chance: Spring Fling is a student-run carnival on the UA campus. It’s our 44th year of operation, and our fifth year back on campus. We have roughly 25,000-35,000 attendees over three operational days. The primary purpose of Spring Fling is to fundraise for clubs, and the profits we make go directly to the clubs involved in Spring Fling. It’s also a great way for students to get involved in leadership roles and for the university to integrate with the community.
Gabi: We are one of the largest run student-carnivals in the nation. We operate twenty-six hours of the weekend. There are game booths, commercial food booths, and original food booths that are run by student clubs. Aside from our contracts with the ride company, the money the clubs raise goes back to the student clubs. It is one giant fundraiser.
What positions do you hold in the Spring Fling?
Chance: I am the executive director after starting off as the assistant to the field operations director two years ago. My role oversees all of the directors, assistants, and the entire staff in the areas of executive, marketing, club relations, programming, logistics, business, field operations and corporate.
Gabi: I am the business director, and I am responsible for managing the relationship between the ride company and actually keeping track of all of the money on the field for the entire weekend.
How did you become involved with the Spring Fling?
Chance: I was a member of Arizona Ambassadors, the tour guide honorary. At a meeting, I heard Spring Fling organizers were looking for an assistant for the field operations director position, and I was looking to get more involved on campus. I reached out—I had no idea what Spring Fling was all about— and the field operations director, Zach Kane, Eller marketing and entrepreneurship graduate, took me under his wing and showed me all of the ropes. That was my sophomore year. The Spring Fling executive team encouraged me the following year to apply for the executive director role, and here I am.
Gabi: As a first-year, I had no idea what Spring Fling was. I had never seen nor heard about it. I was in the Eller Leadership and Integrity Training for Excellence (ELITE) program, and the program passed along the application to be part of the event’s business staff. I was a volunteer the first year and I had a lot of fun, so I returned as the teller manager in my sophomore year. Last year and this year, I have served as the business director.
What has been your biggest challenge so far in managing Spring Fling?
Chance: Time management has been my biggest challenge because there are so many different dates, deadlines, and moving parts. Most volunteers are full-time students, and Spring Fling is a full time commitment. It’s not something that’s an hourly clock in, clock out job; you have to do it on your own and make time for it. Balancing Spring Fling with school and other obligations is fun, and it has definitely helped teach me how to more effectively manage my time.
Gabi: I think communication has been the biggest challenge. Being able to say exactly what you mean to say in the least amount of words is essential. Using different communication channels such as email and face-to-face, however, can lead to different interpretations. Understanding how to balance and effectively fix miscommunication in any medium is important.
What is your favorite part of your Spring Fling involvement?
Chance: My favorite part of working with Spring Fling is the people I have met. It’s a really unique dynamic because we are all peers and students; but at the same time we are all co-workers and have to learn how to be a real team. I have become so close with them, which has to be my favorite part. I have also learned a lot. I want to go into event planning, so there’s no better experience I could have gotten.
Gabi: My favorite thing about Spring Fling is that it’s a crazy and long week. We have the entire week off with a dean’s excuse, and it’s amazing how fun it is to work with everyone and see it come together. It really is just the student directors, and if something goes wrong we have to fix it because we are the actual business owners at that point.
What is your biggest lesson learned from your work with Spring Fling?
Chance: My biggest lesson learned is really just to enjoy it. It’s so much work and it’s something that takes a lot of creativity, hard work and teamwork. It is my favorite part of college and I am going to miss it so much. As much we stayed up pulling all-nighters, we have to remember to enjoy it because it has been the biggest learning experience in college.
Gabi: The biggest lesson it gave me was being comfortable operating in ambiguity and being flexible. There’s so much happening at Spring Fling on an extreme scale with a small amount of time and such a wide variety of people. Being prepared and recognizing that something can go wrong is really important.
What are your plans after graduation?
Chance: I am still deciding: I have a few job offers right now. Each position entails events and motor sports in the car racing and automotive industries. It will be something event-related in the motor sports industry since that was the field of my internships.
Gabi: I will be working for Amazon as an area manager in San Bernardino, California. I will be a manager of one of the shift teams within the warehouse.