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WinterFest discontinued due to poor attendance, lack of interest

Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 08:11

winterfest

Caroline Geiling / The Tufts Daily

After its debut last year, WinterFest will not be returning to campus this December.

WinterFest, a weekend−long series of campus events that was held in early December for the first time last year, will not be revived this year.

Members of Programming Board cited a lack of student interest as reason to reallocate the over $24,000 of funding allotted last fall for the event.

“[Tufts Community Union] Senate and Programming Board decided that WinterFest was too costly to continue having, given the lackluster reception it had last year,” Programming Board Co−Chair Christopher Blackett, a senior, told the Daily in an e−mail.

“It ended up being a grossly expensive flop,” Programming Board Co−Chair Mayan Lendner, a senior, added.

The administration created WinterFest as a replacement for the Naked Quad Run (NQR), according to Office for Campus Life (OCL) Assistant Director David McGraw.

Former University President Lawrence Bacow banned NQR, a decades−long Tufts tradition, in 2011 because of safety concerns and injury rates among student participants.

“[WinterFest] was an idea that had been successfully implemented at other institutions, so some people [suggested] we should give it a try here,” McGraw said.

“It was more of a trial run to see if people wanted something [to replace NQR], but it didn’t work out, so we didn’t think spending that much money for something that people weren’t really interested in would be worth it,” Lendner added.

WinterFest took place last year on the weekend of Dec. 9 and lasted four days.

“There weren’t many people going to most of the events,” Lendner said. “I think the four−day span might have had an effect on it.”

Lendner explained that the decision not to hold another WinterFest was made in part by last year’s Programming Board co−chairs.

“It was very much a unilateral decision to do this — the previous co−chairs didn’t want to see it again because of how much effort they put in and how little they got back from it,” he said. “I know they wanted to see it become a tradition ... but we felt like putting money into something like that again just wouldn’t be worth the amount of money that we had to put in and take out from other things that we do, like Fall Ball and Winter Bash.”

Blackett noted that funds were reallocated to a variety of on−campus organizations, class councils and committees.

WinterFest was originally going to feature snow−related activities, but last year’s lack of snow limited Programming Board and the OCL’s options.

“When the OCL sent out a questionnaire about what the student body hoped for, the response was resounding,” Blackett said. “We had some incredible feedback and ideas. Unfortunately, it was hard to predict the weather, since many of the ideas revolved around snow, and we were restrained by what we could do.”

McGraw added that many student groups also present end−of−semester performances the same weekend as WinterFest.

“We were trying to start something big and new on top of all these other student performances,” he said. “It just really competed more than it was uplifting everyone.”

As of now, there are no plans to replace WinterFest, according to Lendner.

However, both Lendner and Blackett hope something different will be planned in the future.

“I think that Tufts students deserve a huge winter event — one that can inspire the same amount of enthusiasm that NQR did, only without the obvious risks,” Blackett said.

McGraw agreed, noting that the replacement for WinterFest will likely stem from the student body.

“I don’t know that Programming Board is going to be the driving force to replace it, but I think if other groups or the student body as a whole want to come together and try to fill the void somehow, then that’d be great,” he said.

Programming Board and the OCL are working to promote other end−of−semester student activities.

For example, Blackett explained that the annual Cage Rage concert was pushed back from its usual October date to the end of the semester.

McGraw said that the OCL is also trying to support Tufts student groups’ final performances at the end of the semester.

“Instead of creating something new in this void, we’re really trying to highlight the other events that are already going on and trying to celebrate that,” he said.

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