Winterfest Weekend, organized by the Student Programming Board, served as a distraction for students from exams, papers, and of course, the tedium of colder weather this past weekend.

The programs kicked off on Friday with musical events and awareness efforts.

The Saplings, a band of nine musicians from the Eastman School of Music, performed at Hirst Lounge in Wilson Commons. In Starbucks, acoustic indie pop band known as Candy Isle performed originals and covers. Candy Isle consists of senior duo Kat Bakrania and Lydia Dake.

The Vagina Monologues were held on Friday by the UR College Feminists at Strong Auditorium. Funds were donated to V-Day, a global activist movement increasing awareness and ending violence against women, and RESTORE, a rape crisis program that provides safety, support, and advocacy.

Saturday afternoon marked the centerpiece of Winterfest Weekend – Winter Wonderland. Students snapped pictures with the different ice sculptures scattered around campus.

“I saw people taking pictures with the ice sculptures and that caught my attention,” first-year Selina Xu said. “The ice sculptures were pretty cool, as they had the school designs on them.”

Winter Wonderland featured cold-day desserts – hot chocolate, cider, cotton candy, and cookie decorating – along with carnival activities, karaoke, henna tattoos, origami, and a human-sized snow globe. There was also a bob-sled simulator that students could try out.

“It really felt like the Rochester community had come together,” first-year Hana Mamnoon said.

This year’s traditional giveaway at Winterfest occurred on the Wilson Quad. A blue winter-themed tumbler was offered to students.

“I love the design of the tumbler and I was so excited to get one,” sophomore Mohammad Mansoor said. “You definitely need one during the winters.”

The main event that excited students took place on Saturday night as comedian Hasan Minhaj took the stage at Strong Auditorium to a sold-out show.

“I really enjoyed the show because as a Pakistani Muslim, the show was relatable to me,” sophomore Fatima Shah. “Unlike his Netflix show where he talked about his life growing up, during this show he talked about current politics and issues. He addressed the bias against Muslims in the media. So, I liked how he talked about serious issues in a lighter tone because then it’s easier for people to hear.”

While most students thought the show was a hit, the Winterfest  dinner at Danforth inspired  mixed reviews.

“I think that the food had a lot of potential, but it didn’t live up to my expectations,” sophomore Meg Moscato said. “I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be.”

The menu featured meat, vegan, halal, and vegetarian options, as well as an assortment of desserts.

“I thought it was amazing, especially the BBQ poutine and the churros,” sophomore Natalie Lebedko said. “I feel like the food was better quality than usual – more comfort foods. After dinner, we went sledding outside of Sue B. on the hill. It was a nice break from all of the work.”

Winterfest ends on Monday with social justice activist Tarana Burke speaking about the #MeToo movement, which she created.

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