CLSI Hosts Annual Winterfest Event

The Center for Leadership and Student Involvement (CLSI) hosted their annual Winterfest on Saturday, March 6, offering events including snow tie-dying, winter sports clinics and movie theater showings.

Events were organized by Colgate’s Outdoor Education program, the Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism and Education (COVE) Student Advisory Council, the Ski & Snowboard Club, Colgate Activities Board, the Student Government Association (SGA) Class Council, Residential Commons members and student and staff volunteers.

Program Coordinator for CLSI Leigh-Ann Wenzel led the planning initiatives for the event, who said the event has long been in the works.

“The planning for Winterfest began back in December, so there was plenty of time to think about the Commitment to Community Health and the Gates of Reopening and how those guidelines would help us frame the day,” Wenzel said. “Overall, I think the events went well. Winterfest provided students the opportunity to engage in safe but fun activities around campus.”

The Winterfest schedule began with Grab and Go Brunches hosted by Hancock, Mable Dart Colegrove, Ciccone and Brown Commons. Saturday Brunch was a longstanding tradition held by each commons before COVID-19. The grab-and-go brunches as part of Winterfest were the first held since the pandemic began. 

Senior Lecturer in Spanish and Faculty Co-Director of Hancock Commons Pilar Mejía-Barrera explained the importance of the tradition for the commons and Colgate community as a whole.

“Brunches in the past have been very special to the commons and [have] had a sense of being all here. We made it a point to bring professors and invite faculty. I made it a point to go to everybody’s table and I would try to get to know everyone and have students and faculty sit together based on their interests. It’s an informal way to allow the students to connect with faculty,” Mejía-Barrera said. “The commons is a space for everyone and truly belongs to all.”

The main event of Winterfest was the Winter Wonderland Extravaganza, which featured carnival games, prizes and crafts. Theevent was originally planned to take place on Lally Lane, but was later moved to Huntington Gym due to severe winter weather. 

Sophomore Corinna Yee attended various events throughout the day, including the Winter Wonderland Extravaganza, and expressed positive sentiments from the event.

“I liked the lights and the decorations they had and when I started playing games and winning tickets I got that rush of energy, so I just kept playing,” Yee said. “I think Winterfest is a nice idea because with the year being especially tough on everyone, anytime there’s an opportunity to get away from school and be a part of the community is always a great opportunity. I hope we get to do more fun activities like this. I think it really revitalizes the community and puts people in a more spirited mood.”

CLSI Program Intern and senior Liv Byrnes was involved in organizing the events and worked at one of the craft booths during the Winter Wonderland Extravaganza. Byrnes said CLSI faced some challenges with Winterfest organization in the midst of the pandemic, as opposed to years prior.

“I was involved in advertising and getting the word out. It’s definitely harder with COVID and the guidelines but I think CLSI did a pretty good job. Usually there’s food and hot chocolate which attracts more people but this year we couldn’t have that because of COVID. With planning we had to make sure not too many people are here at once and everyone is following the guidelines and wearing masks,” Byrnes said. 

Winterfest events included outdoor events as well. Sophomore Cat Wang, who participated in Outdoor Education’s snowshoeing program on the Colgate trails, said the experience was refreshing.

“It was a nice experience and the Outdoor Education leaders were really enthusiastic and helpful during the whole thing. Overall it was fun and funny learning how to put on and use the snowshoes and trekking in the dark while talking amongst ourselves,” Wang said.