Sting Break seeks alternative locations

Photo by Jon Long

In order to lessen the sting of spring break ending, SCPC annually presents a spring carnival, “Sting Break.”

Inclement weather did cause a delay of the event from its planned date.  But on April 5, Tech Green and the Student Center Parking lot saw around 3,000 Tech students enjoying carnival rides, food, games and prizes.

Previous years have seen Sting Break take place in Tech Square and on the 5th Street Bridge, though this year, a more central location was chosen.

The Technique spoke with Chris Harwell, SCPC’s festivals committee chair. The Festivals Committee is in charge of putting on Sting Break and other campus festivals.

“Logistically, this year’s Sting Break was fairly challenging to pull off in time,” Harwell said. “The change of location essentially invalidated most of the work we had put into our planning over the first third of the process. The additional process of scouting new, potential locations monopolized a significant portion of February.”

The location change was in part due to issues with the Georgia Department of Transportation, who has jurisdiction over 5th Street Bridge.

“Approximately three or four weeks into our 12-week planning process, our GDOT permit was denied,” Harwell said. “We were told we would not be allowed to place mechanical rides on the bridge this year, even though each Sting Break in recent student memory has utilized the bridge for ride space.”

Harwell speculates that GDOT may be implementing greater restrictions on bridges after the collapse of I-85 last year, coincidentally on the same night as Sting Break. The Festivals Committee looked at many different campus locations before settling on Tech Green.

“Each location had its own challenges and a different set of requirements necessary to receive administrative approval, with Tech Green ultimately offering us the greatest opportunity and the least cost,” Harwell said. “Even then, regulations regarding mechanical rides on grass led us to split our largest rides from the rest of the event, which was one of the more difficult compromises to make.”

Another change to this year’s Sting Break was with the registration form and check-in process.

The lines for getting into Sting Break can be exceedingly long. Around one third of Sting Break attendants filled out the waiver online ahead of time, reducing  check-in wait times.

“OIT developed an expedited check-in system specifically for those students at Sting Break to ease congestion,” Harwell said.

Overall, SCPC is satisfied with the event.

“From what I saw throughout the evening, most people appeared to be enjoying themselves,” Harwell said. “Many students seemed to appreciate the more central location, and we didn’t see a significant depreciation in attendance from years past.”

Moving the location of Sting Break to Tech Green may not be only for this year.

Other possible locations for the future include campus parking lots, the Burger Bowl or the IC Lawn.

“Tech Green is a great, centralized location on campus that can accommodate large outdoor events, but it has its limitations. We’ll take time to more extensively scout potential locations for next year’s Sting Break, as well as examine feedback from students,” Harwell said. “Ultimately, everything came together….It was a challenging experience to balance all the moving parts, but thanks to the help of numerous staff and faculty members, administrative departments, our advisors and the members of the Festivals committee, we pulled it off.”