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Editorial | WinterFest should get second chance

Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 08:11


WinterFest was never going to be able to captivate the student body in the same way that the banned end-of-semester Naked Quad Run, known officially by the administration as the Nighttime Quad Reception (NQR), did for decades. But the new event had potential to grow into a fun celebration of winter and the end of the semester.

After last year’s debut of WinterFest was sparsely attended and widely criticized, including by the Daily, the event has been cancelled. Programming Board has decided to cancel this year’s event entirely and re-allocate the over $24,000 that was funded to the event’s debut last year.

Cancelling the event after just one year is unfortunate. Although last year’s event had many flaws, WinterFest could have been saved with student input and better planning. Solely because the first year of this celebration wasn’t as big of a success as the legendary NQR, scrapping the event entirely is not the answer. Instead, Programming Board would be better served to solicit student input once again for ideas to make WinterFest engaging for the student body.

It is important to have a captivating campus event to mark the close of the first half of the academic year. Many schools with similar have something similar to what WinterFest tried to be, or at least some sort of traditional gathering for members of the school to enjoy. A concert, like Cage Rage, is not a viable replacement for what should be a massive event with high student participation and more than just a concert. Regardless of what this end of the semester event would entail, it would be nice for students have something to use to unwind after classes end.

Lackluster turnouts of last year’s event are understandable, as the ban on running NQR and announcement that those defying the ban would be suspended from the university, left many students unhappy. The event was also poorly planned, as a few components of WinterFest, like a snow sculpting contest and snow tubing, falsely assumed that there would be snow on the ground. The inclusion of food trucks at WinterFest was impeded by the fact that students had to pay for food.

With this in mind, to give up on WinterFest after only one year is shortsighted. The event’s debut was a disappointment, but the concept of this sort of event is promising. It may be too late to do anything equivalent to the scale of what is needed for a successful year-end event this fall, but it is not too late to create something impressive for the end of next winter. How creating this new WinterFest or WinterFest replacement would unfold is important, and will require cooperation between Programing Board and the student body, but giving up on the idea after just one year is a mistake.

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