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Students face ‘Freeze-Factor’ at Winter Carnival

February 21, 2008

The weather reflected the 2008 Winter Carnival theme, “Freeze-Factor,” as UW-River Falls students got together to compete in games and enjoy special events.

The competitive team component of the carnival began Feb. 8 with the “Fear the Snow” snow sculpture contest and ended Feb. 14 with an obstacle course.

Six teams competed in the games organized by the UWRF Traditions Committee. The teams had seven opportunities to accumulate points, though not all teams entered every event.

“For number of teams competing, we’re down,” Sara Gliniany, coordinator of Greek functions and special campus-wide events, said.

Normally, several more student organizations and residence halls take part in the events.

“I think this Winter Carnival happened too soon to getting back from J-term,” Gliniany said.

Greek societies made up most of the 2008 teams. This is most likely because fraternities and sororities see the Winter Carnival as a tradition and planned for it well in advance while other groups got caught up with back-to-school adjustments and forgot about the event, Gliniany said.

Cold weather Feb. 9 and 10 meant a slow start to Winter Carnival festivities.

“I think since it was so cold that weekend, a lot of groups didn’t get out there and work on their sculptures,” Amanda Krier, Traditions Committee chair, said.

Two teams—Alpha Gamma Rho and Delta Theta Sigma and the Little Sisters—did manage to complete their snow sculptures despite the sub-zero wind chill. Delta Theta Sigma and the Little Sisters won the event with their sculpture of an igloo and an Eskimo.

Phi Mu’s team missed the snow sculpture contest because many of its members were at a sorority conference in Indianapolis. They signed up for all other Winter Carnival competitions, however.

“We thought it would be fun and a way to get new girls interested (in the sorority) and to just kind of throw our name out there,” Lizzie Adamec, a member of Phi Mu, said.

Phi Mu, whose six representatives sang “Respect,” was one of six teams that competed in karaoke Feb. 11 at 7 p.m.

A live band called the Hootenanners led the groups on as they sang—or shouted—their songs, ranging from “Sweet Caroline” to “Baby Got Back.” Students not involved in the competition then had the chance to be lead singer of the band.

Junior Meghan Moynihan of Alpha Omicron Pi stood outside of the Falcon’s Nest Feb. 12 with some of her team members waiting to compete in the frozen t-shirt contest.

Her group decided to participate in the Winter Carnival “to show school spirit and just be involved in school fun,” Moynihan said.

Two representatives from each competing team worked together to see how quickly they could thaw out a t-shirt enough for one of the team members to put it on and run to an “x” mark on the floor of the aisle. Some students resorted to chewing at the t-shirts in an attempt to thaw the ice. Others stepped on the shirts and pulled up on them until their faces were red and dripping sweat.

Comedian Jay Black took over the stage with his energetic act after the one remaining team gave up on thawing their t-shirt.

His jokes never departed from subjects that college students—especially men—can relate to, so he got a lot of laughs and cheers from the audience.

“I don’t miss dating,” Black said. “I miss video games.”

As part of his bit on the importance of video games to young men, Black asked how many men in the audience have played video games three or more hours at a time. His question was answered with a torrent of cheers and clapping.

The smell of hot peppers drifted to the audience during the “Foods You Fear” eating competition held in the Falcon’s Nest Feb. 13.

“Last call on the waivers,” Krier said. “If you do not sign one, you do not participate.”

Teams hurried to devour a mess of frozen and spicy foods, including frozen Tater Tots and dried habañeros. They either held their hands to their forehead and temples or fanned their face and chugged milk, depending on the food they were trying to force down.

Environmental science major Dane Christenson ate a dried habañero on behalf of Alpha Gamma Rho’s team.

After the contest, Christenson drank Mountain Dew in big gulps. Tears dripped over his cheeks and down to his chin.

“It’s just really hot. It’s bad,” Christenson said. “Someone up there is going to die.”

The competition ended Feb. 14 with an obstacle course set up in the snow between the Kleinpell Fine Arts building and the University Center. Students had to spin around wearing snowshoes with their foreheads pressed to a cardboard tube among other tasks that left them slipping and sometimes falling in the middle of the obstacle course.

Besides encouraging school spirit, the Winter Carnival supplied local charities with necessities which they will dispense to residents in need of their help, Gliniany said.

Teams could score additional points by collecting food items for the River Falls Food Pantry located at Ezekial Lutheran Church and personal hygiene items for Turning Point, a River Falls shelter for abused women and their children.

“We probably had two big boxes worth of hygiene items, and I suppose you could say like a van’s worth of food that we took to the food shelf,” Gliniany said.

The winning team was announced at the Feb. 15 hockey game against UW-Stout. Alpha Gamma Rho won with 751 points, followed by Delta Theta Sigma and the Little Sisters, who scored 713 points. Sigma Sigma Sigma and the Agricultural Education Society both earned 342 points to tie for third place.