Editor’s Column : There’s Snow Place Like Colgate



Geoff Guenther

The world is falling apart. Earthquakes and floods are trying to destroy the human race, teacups are bagging Washington (or something), Toyotas have minds of their own, the iPad is plotting the death of all laptops and for some reason people are watching Jay Leno again. Really? Leno? The only thing funny about him is his chin.

Add to this the fact that Colgate recently received a whopping 20 feet of snow (values approximate) and you can’t help but imagine that the end is nigh. Or is it? You see, Colgate students have created a unique way of dealing with the endless drama that good old Gaia throws our way – the simple art of the snow fort.

Back in 1914, when Colgate was a hundred years young and all male, something called the Winter Carnival arose out of the tundra that is Hamilton. While a good amount of this Carnival probably resembled a frosty Spring Party Weekend, one thing that came out of it was the yearly ice-sculpting hullabaloo. Every fraternity (a whopping fourteen, at one time) would rally and create a snow sculpture on their lawn, rejuvenating the snow-laden Broad Street. Of course, a winner would be announced. It was a point of pride.

This was, of course, before 24-hour sports channels and the Xbox 360 were invented.

The University, in recent years, has tried to bring back the glory days with snow sculpture contests. These have been met with very minimal interest from the student body. It’s not hard to see why. After all, it is pretty damn cold out there. It seemed the snow sculpture days were over for Colgate. Broad Street wept icy tears of shame.

Last Thursday afternoon, the Hamilton heavens opened up and Colgate was positively vanquished with an unholy amount of white doom. It was so bad, the library closed early.

And then that left Friday. Many (read: most) students decided to have their own snow day. So, what is there to do with a diabolical amount of snow and no class? Build forts.

And build them they did. Boy, did they build them. Colgate students all over campus set to work on crafting their very own 32 degree hideaways. Trash cans were used to dig. Foremen were put in charge. Subcommittees were created. Support beams and cup-holders were put in place. A few groups had the presence of mind to include table-like surfaces in their forts. Table-like surfaces upon which triangular formations of cups could be placed? Maybe.

And it didn’t stop there. Decorations were added. The DU fort was given the moniker “Sex Dome” in bright orange paint, as if to say that whatever Mother Nature throws our way, Colgate students can handle it with dignity. Like everything was all going to be okay. It didn’t stop there. This snowstorm also brought back the snow sculpture! Residents of the Townhouse community may have noticed a strange shaft rising from the lawn. No, that wasn’t just a spot of earth that Mother Nature really wanted to cover with snow. That was the rebirth of Winter Carnival!

It is unclear what sort of thingamajig was built on the Quad atop the Hill, as it quickly fell into an unrecognizable series of tubes, much like the Internet (Wikipedia “Series of Tubes.” You’ll thank me later). But one has to admire the chutzpah of those first-years, getting in on the snow day action. You can’t keep them out of the game.

Yes, this past weekend showed Colgate students’ defiant spirit. We laugh at your puny snow! We will dig it and pack it and mold it into the most comfortable outdoor living room you could imagine! We will order Slices delivered TO THE FORT!

Much like the spirit of the Winter Carnival of yore, this weekend showed that Colgate students can create great things through teamwork, and that we can turn a cold, snowy situation into a celebration of life, love, knowledge and delicious snowy Slices.

Hey, maybe it’s just our way of dealing with the chaos that is the real world.