Students partake in Winterfest activities

Robin Huiras

The tedium of winter melted last week through a campus-wide celebration of the season.
With more than 20 events, Winterfest gave University students the opportunity to play both in and out of doors. Celebrating winter was the goal of the week, said Michael Holland, president of the Coffman Union Program Council. The activities were aimed at enjoying and defeating the cold weather.
“The theme is ‘A Time To Chill’ — it’s about relaxing and taking a break,” Holland said.
About 2,500 students participated in events throughout the week, but coordinators want to see it grow, Holland said. In its third year, Winterfest is an effort to bring back the feelings predominant at the University during Snow Week of the 1930s and ’40s.
Some outside activities included hunting for medallions, romping around in snowshoes, throwing frisbees in the snow and lounging in a hot tub. Inside, students listened to Garrison Keillor, made s’mores in the fire at the Fireplace Lounge, received massages and enjoyed music supplied by various artists.
One of the most popular events was the medallion hunt. Three medallions were placed around campus, one on the East Bank, one on the West Bank and one on the St. Paul campus. The finder of the first coin won a $100 gift certificate to the bookstores and the other two winners received $50 gift certificates to either Target or Midwest Mountaineering.
The first year of the hunt, it was a take-off from the St. Paul Winter Carnival’s medallion hunt, said Michael Hand, chairman of the program council’s Network Events Theater Committee.
“This year was the starting point. There really wasn’t a buzz about it,” Hand said. “Next year we want to make it bigger and better.
About 12 student volunteers coordinated the events, said Dan Asmus, advisor to the performing arts and special events committee.
“That’s what it’s about,” Asmus said. It was for the students, by the students.
And the students want to see the celebration grow by involving more organizations and reaching out to more students — taking that next step to make it what it was in the 1930s and ’40s, Holland said.
“This year has definitely been a success. It’s a great thing for us to build on for next year,” he added.
The Coffman Union Program Council, the St. Paul Student Center Program and Activities Committee, the College of Liberal Arts College Board, the Residence Hall Association and the bookstores sponsored the week of activities.