Students returning to campus from winter break were welcomed back by an artificial ice rink event on Saturday, Jan. 22. Hosted by the Student Government Association (SGA) and Programs Board, the event was planned as a fun and unexpected way to start off the semester.
With the Hawk Radio providing music, students were able to snack on chips, drink hot coffee and watch their friends skate on the artificial ice rink.
The rink, constructed out of large puzzle-piece shaped plastic, was sprayed with water to provide a more realistic skating experience. However, the day’s freezing temperatures and the rink’s small size deterred many students who had planned on attending.
“It was small and kind of disappointing,” said first-year Erica Wharry, who had intended to go ice skating with some friends. Seeing that the rink only covered at most a third of the basketball court behind the Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center, she and her friends changed their minds.
“After seeing it I didn’t want to go,” Wharry explained.
Junior Marshall Betz saw it differently. “It’s not really what I expected,” he admitted, but he also added that it was a “great thing to get people to come together,” even if it was “just to complain.”
Despite the cold, senior Jes Harvey, Director of Campus Programming, said that many of the participants were having fun, with students displaying their skating talents or dancing on the rink. There was a consistent flow of skaters, with no need to impose the 30 minute limit since the rink never reached full capacity (35 skaters).
Harvey explained that the men’s basketball game against Stevenson University made many students opt out of the cold and into the heated arena making the rink close early at around 4:30 p.m. By that time, 213 students had skated.
As for whether this will become a new St. Mary’s tradition, nothing has been decided. Harvey suggested that next year’s Programs Board spend the extra money for a bigger rink if they decide to bring it back.
With some funding provided by the SGA, Programs Board paid $5,800 for the rink, including skate rentals. However, Harvey was unsure how much a larger rink would cost, pointing out that in the end, it would depend on “what the students want.”
Wharry said she would “definitely consider” attending an ice skating event if the rink were bigger. Betz said, “I would come back next year, even if I didn’t skate.” However, he added that it “depends on how much” a larger rink would cost. “It might be too much to spend right now,” he concluded.