UR students braved frigid temperatures last weekend to participate in a wide range of activities during Winterfest weekend.

The festival featured new and familiar programming events. The annual weekend celebration was highlighted by B.J. Novak’s performance on Saturday night. The second annual Winter Wonderland attracted students to the Residential Quad and Wilson Commons for ice skating, husky petting and beverages including hot cider and hot chocolate.

The weekend started early on Friday afternoon, as Dean of the College Richard Feldman and Dean of Students Matthew Burns donned chef’s hats and competed for the title of UR’s top celebrity chef. Five hundred people waited in lines criss-crossing Danforth Dining Center for pulled pork, Cuban sandwiches and ravioli. Dining Services Marketing Manager David Feist’s pulled pork dish took home the top prize. The challenge was sponsored by the Hoeing and Crosby Residential Adviser staff.

UR Idol and Friday Night Live were the focal points for music on Friday evening.
The UR Idol competition determined the University’s most musically talented student. The lineup included singers, an electric mandolin player, a pianist and a drummer.

UR Hip-Hop freestyled and cyphered (a style of rap) to a Starbucks crowd at Friday Night Live. Audience members had the opportunity to perform raps of their own during an open mic portion of the performance.

Goergen Athletic Center may have been the most popular destination Friday evening, with Laser Tag: UR IT, taking over the complex’s fieldhouse. The first-annual game was wildly successful as 375 people filled the box to participate. Gilbert RA and senior Sean Virgile organized the event along with the rest of the Gilbert RA Staff.

‘Laser tag was a program we came up with last spring but didn’t have enough time to plan,” Virgile said. ‘The program was a huge success. We had a line before it even started and unfortunately had to turn people away at the end. Everyone we talked to said they had a blast.”

College Activities Board Winterfest chair and sophomore Laura Zimmerman said that the weekend was very popular.

‘The glove give-away was very successful,” she said. ‘Everyone needs gloves.”
The biggest spectacle on Saturday was the second-annual Winter Wonderland. Students warmed up with hot chocolate and hot cider and lined Dandelion Square to pet the Siberian huskies.

For the second year in a row, those who chose to could ride a horse-drawn carriage down by the Genesee River.

When it was time for the Winterfest dinner, students who showed up late to the dinner left hungry.

‘The dinner was wildly popular,” Zimmerman said. ‘We ordered more food than we did last year, and we still ran out.”
The newest addition to Winter Wonderland was an ice-skating rink in the May Room. Sophomore Class Council Programming Chair April Hu felt the rink was a success.
‘It gave a venue for more students to participate in more activities,” she said.

Winterfest usually brings in a prominent comedian, and on Saturday evening, B.J. Novak entertained a sold out Strong auditorium crowd. Novak, a writer for and an actor on NBC’s ‘The Office,” performed after canceling an appearance during the first semester.
CAB and the four class councils collaborated to fund the weekend. Dining Services, Wilson Commons Student Activities Office, Facilities and ResLife also worked together to support CAB and the class councils. Associate Director for Wilson Commons Students Activities Programs and CAB Adviser Melissia Schmidt commended the various student groups for organizing the event.

‘An event like this is really logistically intense and the student coordinators from each group, as well as the staff and student volunteers, did an amazing job of making sure it all came together seamlessly,” she said. ‘Winterfest Weekend was well-attended, well-received and very successful.”

Co-chair of the Students’ Association Senate Projects and Services Committee and junior Eric Weissman worked closely with CAB and the SAO to help organize the weekend and said improvements that organizers installed this year made a big difference.

‘This year we increased the amount of food, s’mores and give-a-ways so that everyone could fully enjoy the event,” he said.
However, he added they may relook the ice skating rink.

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