Students Activities Association Hosts Winterfest

Elsa O'Brien, Staff Writer

Hosted by the Students Activities Association (SAA), Winterfest, an annual Colgate tradition, returned to campus this past weekend offering events such as snowshoeing and an open-mic night. The festivities occured on Saturday, Feb. 5. 

Last year, Winterfest happened in March due to restrictions regarding COVID-19. According to SAA Campus Spirit Committee Director junior Shane Knopp, the event benefited from the earlier date.

“Although we didn’t necessarily make this change [of date] due to weather, we definitely did benefit from the snowstorm,” Knopp said.

Due to the mild severity of the winter storm that resulted in over 12 inches of snow in Hamilton, N.Y., some activities were forced to be canceled such as the first scheduled event, sledding with hot cocoa and doughnuts.

SAA had been prepared to cancel some activities pending weather conditions, according to Knopp.

“Winterfest will feature sledding — pending weather conditions,” Knopp said.

Despite the cancellation of sledding, Winterfest picked up in the evening, with three different events including “Caffeine,” an open mic poetry and story night located in the O’Connor Campus Center. A new Winterfest event this year, “Caffeine” offered board games and snacks, and was described by first year Katie Maretea as “wholesome.” 

Maretea, who attended “Caffeine,” expanded further on what she enjoyed most about the new, creative component of Winterfest.

“Caffeine was one of my favorite Winterfest events. I loved hearing live music and relaxing with my friends after a week of classes. We even got to paint a mini-Bob Ross canvas, so it really doesn’t get more chill than that,” Maretea said. 

Other events included the “Night Snowshoe Hike” and “Iceless Ice Skating.” “Iceless Ice Skating” was a favorite of students who attended, according to Knopp.

“’Iceless Ice Skating’ works by using an outside vendor to set up an arena with an engineered plastic base that replicates the qualities of ice,” Knopp said. “You’re able to skate on the material the same way as you would at any regular ice rink, but it might feel a bit different at first.”

Students were able to enjoy ice skating as well as a snow globe making station in Huntington Gymnasium. First-year Diya Mehta described the experience of participating in several events throughout the night.

“The ice skating was really fun,” Mehta said. “For me, the highlight was definitely the snow globe making. It was really nice to capture a memory in a unique way.”

The SAA has been planning this weekend of events for months, according to Knopp.

“Although the Student Activities Association planned most of the logistical details of Winterfest back in November and December, the initial discussion started all the way back at the end of September when we chose the date,” Knopp said. 

The festivities ended at around midnight on Saturday, and the SAA reflected on a successful Winterfest 2022, looking forward to the next annual event. 

“There’s a feeling of overwhelming pride and happiness for me whenever we host an event that the Colgate community enjoys,” Knopp said. “It’s super rewarding knowing that your organization coordinated an event where people who attended left feeling happier than they did when they arrived.”