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Cornell Needs A Winter Carnival

As a more general follow-up to the earlier Ice Bowl post, with a locale in a cold-weather climate such as Ithaca, it always struck me that Cornell needs to take more advantage of the winter weather and the collective fun it can bring. Dartmouth has an extremely popular (and fun!) winter carnival to warm student’s hearts during the coldest months of the school year, but spring semester at Cornell is oft considered a long, cold, uphill trudge in the snow until Slope Day.

During my sophomore year at Cornell, I was involved in a student led effort to bring a ‘Blizzard Bash’ to the Slope during the month of February. The Cornell Ski Club and CUTonight had plans to have Greek Peak build a ski jump on the Slope, host an ice-sculpture contest, and feature live music, food, and copious amounts of hot chocolate under a heated tent at the base of the Slope.

A cursory search through the Daily Sun archives would indicate that such an event would not be without precedent – a winter festival used to be held on the icy confines of Beebee Lake every year. But sadly, Cornell’s lawyers put an end to our plans—even though our suggested event seemed a lot less risky than Dartmouth’s or Harvard’s annual Polar Bear Swim.

With all of the recent focus that the University has placed on its student’s mental health, what with snooping janitors and mandatory leaves of absences, I can’t help but think that Cornell should also be more proactive in its approach to student well-being. I’ve written about this before. Some sort of community-building winter carnival—with ice sculpture contests, snow-shoeing races, alumni activities, a bonfire by Beebee Lake, a formal dance, and a marquee sporting event or two—might be just what the doctor ordered during the dark, cold days of winter.

Somewhere on East Hill there just might be a couple of industrious undergraduates willing and eager to get these plans rolling.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on January 01, 2008 (#)

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