I thought UR students already had enough on their plates. I thought that between fulfilling onerous cluster requirements and spending long hours raising money for tsunami relief efforts, students didn’t have time for anything else. To the world’s rescue, four proud individuals proved me wrong. Two weekends ago, sparked by news of Inuit refugees, seniors Dan Apfel, Erin Charnow and Matt Steineger and freshman Emily Reiss erected an igloo on the Eastman Quadrangle. When our heroes heard that prospective drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge had “displaced” a family of Northwestern Alaskans, they switched construction from snowman to snow mansion.

Armed with will forged in the fiery depths of hell and boxes made of cardboard, our protagonists labored shelter for the poor victims of President George W. Bush’s environmental policy. What were they thinking? God only knows. Build an igloo, while putting off the omnipresent evil that is WeBWorK.

Not to mention that Charnov and Steineger are from the West Coast. How could two people from a laid-back coastal region deal with the looming stress that would imminently result from undertaking such a huge task?

Against all adversity, our heroes struggled with the elements for five hours, requesting help from seniors Bob McCracken and Beth Goldstone only at the bitter end. They filled box after box with snow, and heart after heart with love, to create the necessary materials. Like the ancient Romans who built the Coliseum, our champions utilized a system of snow blocks compiled in an array of arches.

And there it stood in front of Rush Rhees Library, looking majestically out at the Interfaith Chapel.

It was the spiritual side of the igloo that our hero Steineger was able to capture best.

“More important than our keen symbiotic relationship with the physical world around us, we became more in tune with time itself,” he proclaimed. “No igloo can stand forever, and this is implicitly understood even before the first block is placed. We were working with the natural cycle of time, not against it.”

“This is how we achieved success. We provided a habitat for humanity unlike any other.”

We all know how cruel the world is to UR students, and I’m sad to say this story doesn’t end here. The Inuit refugees never showed up. After starting an online relief effort to aid their cause, the Alaskans became multimillionaires and are now living in, say, Malawi.

Spurned by disingenuous Inuits, Steineger and Charnow decided to make the best out of their creation by inviting certain guests inside the igloo to make peace. Eventually, they grew sleepy and decided to spend the night in their abode thanks to sleeping bags provided by UR Outing Club.

The sound of crows roused our heroes from their slumber early on the morning of Feb. 6.

One can only imagine the dreams they had. At ease from the tireless work behind them, their thoughts were only to the future.

Steineger commented on his vision of this future.

“The plan is to build an entire settlement of igloos on the Eastman Quadrangle. He said “To do this we need help, and we know you want to participate”.

Rudolph can be reached at drudolph@campustimes.org.



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