Celebrating the snowy season

UB students embraced winter during UB's traditional Winterfest

The Spectrum

Munindhran N. Rao, a master's student studying electrical engineering, experienced snow for the first time on Saturday.

Rao, who is from India, was one of 300 students who attended UB's fifth-annual Winterfest. Kerry Spicer, the associate director of Student Unions and Activities, coordinated the day's events. The goal, she said, was to help students "celebrate winter" and embrace the season because it takes up the majority of a college student's career at UB.

Saturday's event offered ice bowling, a snowman-building contest, an igloo-making contest, sledding and horse-drawn sleigh rides - events that Rao said are impossible to experience in India.

There was even a synthetic ice rink set up in the Student Union lobby.

"About five years ago, we realized, while students do winter activities in Buffalo, we don't really have an event around winter," Spicer said.

That's when the idea of Winterfest came about.

UB Student Affairs, UB Athletics, University Facilities and the Office of Sustainability took part in planning Winterfest.

Organizers distributed free food and gloves throughout the event to help students keep warm and stay full.

Ni Xiaowen, a sophomore accounting major from Taiwan, ice skated for the first time on Saturday.

"I was very nervous," Xiaowen said. "[But] because it was not real ice, I think it wasn't as difficult."

Living in Buffalo is a culture shock to Xiaowen, and events like Winterfest help her "immerse [herself] in the Buffalo culture," she said.

Siddarthan V. Raja, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, believes Winterfest took place at the perfect time this year because, being the first weekend after classes began, many professors did not assign intense homework loads.

Raja's favorite part of Winterfest was playing "Left for Dead," a video game set up on four screens inside of the Student Union, with his friends.

The annual broomball tournament took place on the outdoor ice-skating rink.

Connor Arquette first heard about broomball - a game similar to ice hockey - at Winterfest. He ended up winning the tournament, which he said was the highlight of his day.

"I didn't even realize that I had scored two goals when it happened," said Arquette, a junior pre-med major. "[My whole team] actually didn't know what broomball was until today."

Both international and local students took advantage of Spicer's efforts to celebrate the winter season.

email: features@ubspectrum.com