Final Fling finally flung

Warwick’s seminal event ‘Final Fling’ will not take place this year, in favour of a six-day celebration at the end of Term Three.

Finalists have traditionally celebrated the end of their time at University with students from the University of Birmingham at the historic Coombe Abbey.

The _Boar_ can reveal that the future of Final Fling was in question since last summer.

The previous sabbatical officer team confirmed that discussions took place about possible solutions if Birmingham SU were to pull out of the arrangement, which would make holding the event at Coombe Abbey unfeasible.

Fabian Neuner, President of the University of Birmingham Guild of Students, said: “University of Birmingham students have identified a desire to bring our Grad Ball back on to campus.” Birmingham will not be participating in Final Fling in 2010.

Isaac Acquah, Communications Officer for the Warwick Students’ Union, maintained the Union could still have used Coombe Abbey as a venue: “We could have [held Fling] at Coombe Abbey [without Birmingham] but it would have been different.”

Events would have been on a smaller scale, with less entertainment and higher prices.

Acquah said that the increased cost of renting the site without Birmingham was “not a direct cause” of the changes to Final Fling.

“Even if Birmingham had stayed, there were talks about what to do with Final Fling… Everything has a shelf life”, he said.

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The traditional send-off will now be replaced with the ‘Six Days of Summer’ from Thursday of Week Nine until Tuesday of Week Ten in Term Three, which will include The Graduation Ball and The Summer Party, an outdoor festival.

The Graduation Ball will be geared towards finalists, held in a venue off campus. The Summer Party will include three music arenas, 13 acts and a fun fair. It will be followed by a survivors’ after-party in the Union until the early hours of the morning. There will be other smaller events taking place throughout the six-day period.

Acquah argued that Final Fling was “two events mixed up and not in the right place” prompting the separation of the two major elements of ball and festival.

He promised these events will be “bigger and better” and compared the overall change to Shakespeare’s well-known adage: “A rose by another name would smell as sweet”.

“Each year we try to make Final Fling bigger and bigger. This year, the only way to do that, was to split it up.”

Further details will be revealed in Week Eight when the Union makes a formal announcement. Each year the acts at Final Fling are shrouded in mystery, only announced towards the end of term, and this will remain the case for ‘Six Days of Summer’.

The information released by the Union so far has been a direct response to student fears that the Union had not organised a farewell event at all. A Facebook group entitled ‘[Where’s our 2010 Fling?](’ quickly garnered a membership of over 400 students, as finalists speculated as to why there had been no announcement from the Union.

Acquah responded to these concerns by announcing the basics of the ‘Six Days of Summer’ on the group.

Some students were reassured by the information released. Marie Cannon, a finalist studying Philosophy and Literature, said: “I am very excited about the changes and the new events replacing Final Fling this year… Now that we are not only having a graduation ball, but also a summer party where other years can attend too, means this year is going to be bigger and better than last year!”

Heather Winebloom, creator of the Facebook group and a final-year Biological Sciences student, said, “I think lack of communication from the union was an issue — that is the whole reason I started the Facebook group. But the group did what I hoped –- we got a response out of the union, and it all happened in less than a day.”

Winebloom was undecided about the changes announced, but summed up the feelings of many, saying, “I just want a good send off for finalists, and for the union to be open about what we are getting.”

However, other students remain more skeptical. Adam Jones, a third year history student, was particularly annoyed by the Union’s secretive approach. “I suspect and I’m pretty sure everyone else who has joined the [Facebook] group suspects that it will be a pretty poor excuse for an event and will be a massive disappointment compared to last year’s final fling.”

Lizi Blackburn, also a third year history student, said, “[I would] rather have a traditional fling. It sounds like they are doing more ‘less good things’ so they can weasel more money out of us. I would rather have one thing that did everything rather than lots of little things.”

Despite claiming The Summer Party will be more “affordable” than Final Fling last year, Acquah admitted that students who wanted to attend both the Graduation Ball and the Summer Party would be paying more than students of previous years.

Acquah assured finalists: “Some students will be upset because of what they think Fling is… but these events are going to be better and I think people will be thrilled once they get there.”

Further announcements about specific venues and acts will be made in Week Eight.


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