Annual Winter Carnival returns to Norris


Seeger Gray/The Daily Northwestern

The Winter Carnival, an event at Norris University Center, brought together 635 Northwestern students on Saturday. Food, games and an iceless skating rink drew people in on the cold, snowy evening.

Yola Mzizi, Reporter

Student Organizations and Activities and Campus Life brought back their annual Winter Carnival to the second floor of Norris University Center. 

The Saturday night carnival hosted a wide range of activities, including an iceless skating rink sponsored by NU Nights, a “Fill-a-Friend” stuffed animal station and a hot cocoa section sponsored by Northwestern Athletics. The organizers planned the event several months in advance, identifying potential partners for collaboration and preparing backup plans for COVID-19 surges. 

“We have been planning the event since November,” said Joseph Lattal, associate director of student organizations and services. “We’ve always prepared for the possibility that the event would either be postponed or virtualized.”

SOA modified the carnival from previous years because of the pandemic. Attendees had to wear masks to participate in activities, and the food options, such as chocolate-covered pretzels and trail mix, were prepackaged. Lattal said the changes were part of an effort to comply with NU’s public health recommendations.

Lattal said rather than encourage people to gather around food, they expected students to bring food with them to an activity.

SOA intends to offer a virtual late-night event in the future to accommodate students who are uncomfortable attending large gatherings, Lattal said. The event will offer similar prizes as in-person events, such as gift cards and other cash prizes. A virtual trivia night was initially planned for Jan. 13, but was canceled because of understaffing and because much of SOA’s staff tested positive for COVID-19. 

“I feel pretty safe at almost all NU events,” Weinberg sophomore Nicole Hebert said. “I trust that the people around us are vaccinated and tested.” 

More than 630 students attended the Winter Carnival. Despite the recent surge in COVID-19 cases on campus, some attendees said the pandemic did not dissuade them from participating. 

For other attendees, the event provided an opportunity to socialize after Wildcat Wellness and take a break from their studies. Medill junior Vaibhavi Hemasundar said the event offered an opportunity for her to leave her apartment and interact with other students. 

“I figured this would be the busiest event on campus tonight,” Hemasundar said. “I can hear a lot of laughter and I knew that I would probably run into a lot of friends tonight.” 

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @yolamzi

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