Perfect storm: Students enjoy historic day off from classes

Following the third-largest blizzard Chicago’s history, 250 NU students on Wednesday staged a massive snowball fight, which pitted friend against friend in the quad north of University Library. Pink-faced and determined, students with snot freezing on their upper lips waded through 2-foot deep snow in order to pelt each other with snowballs and perhaps release some pent-up midterm frustration.

“I will give you three seconds to run before I smack you in the face with a snowball,” Weinberg freshman George Liu yelled to a friend as he packed snow while leaning against a tree.

Though Wednesday’s snow day set the stage for the snowball fight and other obvious signs of student merriment, including sledding outside Norris University Center and playing on the ice rink, Tuesday night presented other challenges: gusts of wind reaching 70 miles per hour, huge waves on Lake Michigan and growing piles of snow that would eventually total over 20 inches. Medill junior Becca Weinstein and a friend walked from Clark Street to Lincoln Street late last night because taxis were reporting a three-hour wait and SafeRide and University shuttles were not running. Weinstein also said a certain camaraderie between travelers formed over their mutual predicament.

“It was like going through Arctic tundra,” she said. “You couldn’t understand it unless you were out there.”

The next morning, Michael San Gabino ventured around South Campus and the Lakefill, taking pictures and enjoying the scenery.

“There were five little snowmen guarding the Arch,” the Bienen sophomore said. “It was really cool to see University (Hall) and Annie May Swift and all the steps filled with snow.”

Out on the Lakefill, San Gabino and his companions were shocked at the wind still blowing off of the lake.

“We saw some people walking on the lake, which we didn’t think was the greatest idea,” he said. “We were just amazed at how icy and snowy the lake was.”

Other students chose to spend the day off relaxing in their dorms and enjoying the break from classes. SESP sophomore Emily Weinstock said she used her day to “catch up on TV and movies,” and when Allison dining hall ran low on food she ate “what I had stored away.”

For many students, the snowball fight was the culmination of relaxing day. Some of fighters executed kamikaze attacks, some cowered and others picked off targets with water balloon launchers. Student reporters covering the fight for Medill assignments swamped the area, dodging snowballs like bullets while trying to protect their video cameras.

Weinberg senior Justin Smith attended the fight with his friend Dan Spedale, also a Weinberg senior. In addition to each other, they targeted members of Alpha Phi sorority.

“Anarchy is awesome,” Smith shouted before running back into the fray.

Not all those who attended were NU students. Cem Corapcioglu, who was visiting from Turkey, said he wished they had such snow back home.

“I love snow,” Corapcioglu said. “I loved the blizzard yesterday. I was out trying to run against the wind. It was crazy.”

But despite the youthful bliss enveloping most of campus, some students said they spent Wednesday studying.

With classes being held Thursday and midterm season remaining in full swing, Weinberg senior Elisa Meggs, who had multiple tests and papers she needed to prepare for on Thursday, spent her snow day inside writing a Spanish take-home exam.

Things took a turn when her Spanish professor answered an e-mail telling her the exam wouldn’t be due that day.

“I spent my whole snow day inside, and she finally got back to me and let me know that it wasn’t due,” Meggs said.

With her day off already finished, Meggs turned to the Internet to get a taste of the wintry scene Evanston had been enveloped in.

“I just decided to look at everyone’s pictures on Facebook,” she said. “It was kind of sad that I was living vicariously through them.”

Maria LaMagna contributed reporting

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