2002 Fiesta draws respectable crowd
By Ed De La Garza
Daily Cougar Staff
It may have been lacking in grizzled cowboys, six-shooters and showdowns
at the corral, but this year's Frontier Fiesta, held March 21 through 23,
still offered more to participants and revelers than previous events.
The annual UH event began in the late 1940s but was discontinued by
then-UH President Gen. A.D. Bruce, who felt preparation for the event was
taking too much time away from studies. At the time, the celebration
drew hundreds of thousands of people.
When it returned to campus in 1992, it drew mere hundreds, but it has
continued to grow in size and scope since then.
But with the addition of a third music theme — r&b night — the introduction
of new student groups and an estimated attendance figure of between
35,000 and 36,000, Frontier Fiesta 2002 has to be deemed a success,
Fiesta Chairwoman Beth Kungel said. The 2001 event drew an estimated
24,000 people, Kungel said.
"The student participation was a step in the right direction as far
as making Fiesta more representative of the University," Kungel said. "I'm
of the attendance and seeing people out there that had never come to
Frontier Fiesta — and finding something there they liked."
In years past, Fiesta was criticized for being insensitive to minority
groups who felt the event glorified a racist and tumultuous era in U.S.
Groups would hold candlelight vigils to protest the University celebration.
This year, Kungel said she approached as many student groups as possible
in an effort to make Fiesta more inclusive. The Fiesta board has been
holding wrap-up meetings to address any concerns from this year's event
before meeting with University officials, she said.
The board will look into getting more sponsorship money during the summer
as well as continuing the silent auction from this year's Fiesta.
"We'll look into better incentive programs for new groups and having
more dialogue with all the groups," Kungel said. "My hope is that people
continue to make the event grow. I really want to see it become something
that is really UH."
In March, the Student Fees Advisory Committee approved $9,400 as a one-time
allocation for the next fiscal year to be used for a front support system.
The system was proposed to help stabilize the building fronts and to
decrease the time spent building them.
Anyone wishing to get involved in Frontier Fiesta 2003 can call (713)
743-5181, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Room 51 in the University
Center Underground. Applications for the next chairperson and other
Fiesta Board positions are available.