This past weekend, while walking to Wilson Commons, passersby could witness a winter tradition: the packed, scuff-worn piles of tumbling snow, the hot chocolate lighting steam across chapped lips and the illuminating light strings suspended across the whole chaotic scene. Underneath this swinging illumination, college kids were doing something rare: roasting s’mores, petting grateful huskies and stopping by for a quick fix of relaxation.
Maybe I have misconceptions about other University students, thinking that we are all too ingrained in our class reading to really open our eyes and enjoy the moment, but at this past Winter Wonderland, students were given a moment to take a deep breath, set a marshmallow on fire and enjoy the smell of freshly dropped horse poop.
No, really, though.
The stigma always following the Ivy Leaguers is that they are incapable of anything beyond quantum mechanics and taping together black-rimmed Coke bottle glasses, always wandering with their notebooks clutched desperately, as if in defense, hidden in dorm rooms within mounds and mounds of science texts. Whether this obvious stereotype is more truth than conjecture is anyone”s guess, but it is comforting to have the occasional moment bonding over a distaste for burnt graham crackers.
Of course, you will always have your token share of those students who think the weekend is best spent with noses pressed adamantly to a hardcover book or, alternatively, those students whose only study technique is slipping the messy notes under their pillow before they pass out for the night. Whichever type this school most frequently attracts is up to personal opinion.
However, the one thing UR can do with absolute success is join these students in one large outdoor expanse and get them to discuss the minutia of their day over a large, roasting barrel and waiting for just the right crispy-to-crunchy marshmallow ratio.
If students had more places to join together in this random, haphazard way, shaking hands with practical strangers and getting to know individual hot chocolate preferences, our entire campus community would ultimately benefit. Maybe those overachieving book worms would tentatively leave their dorm-room dungeons, the party animals would find surprising satisfaction in new company and the campus would seem less distant for those longing to return home.
Without a doubt, that”s the important aspect I first noticed about Winterfest Weekend, that students were exchanging stories from their early years here, swapping knowledge about mutual friends and laughing about the more unfortunate aspects of horse-drawn carriage rides. Whether students arrived here from Tokyo or Buffalo, spoke slang or studied English, hid in their dorms or avoided them altogether, all could enjoy the swirl of nostalgia of this past weekend at UR.