The Vermont Cynic

Winter Carnival unites the University


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The Cynic’s Enterprise section has spent the past three weeks exploring race at UVM, and has covered the Kake Walk, the current racial climate and the future of diversity at our University.

Though this may come as no surprise to UVM students, our University has the one of the lowest diversity rates of all national universities in the country, according to a 2015 ranking by U.S. News and World Report.

This presents a glaring void in the student experience. 

Education is more than just what takes place in a classroom and what can be gleaned from a textbook. Rather, students from all walks of life benefit, as citizens and scholars from exposure and interaction with those of different backgrounds.

In this issue’s installment, there was mention of creating a Winter Carnival on campus.

It should be noted that this wouldn’t be the first winter weekend to be celebrated at the UVM.

Between 1894 and 1969, the University hosted another popular winter celebration that drew visitors from across the state and alumni from across the country. For many, it was seen as a weekend of school pride and tradition.

[media-credit name=”SARAH OLSEN” align=”alignnone” width=”300″]SnowflakeThickIllustration[/media-credit]

However, it also included the Kake Walk, a shamefully racist event where members of our University performed and competed in blackface.

No event of that scale ever managed to replace the Winter Weekend of days gone by, which is likely a good thing. The campus needed time to heal, and any event attempting to immediately replace it would inevitably be associated with the Kake Walk.

However, with generations separating us from the sins of the past,  it’s time for a new generation of students to create a tradition that would foster school spirit and pride, while being welcoming to each and every member of our campus community.

Most schools have events that draw large numbers of alumni back to campus, as well as promoting community and student participation, ranging from sports games to festivals.

Though UVM does have an exciting homecoming weekend in the fall, there is little else in this regard, nor is there much to brighten up a long, cold winter.

A new Winter Carnival could accomplish just this.

The University Program Board currently hosts WinterFest for students, offering activities ranging from concerts to arts and crafts and other winter activities.

This is the perfect model and jumping off point for a larger community-wide festival.

Junior Tim Cece is part of an informal SGA committee dedicated to planning next year’s winter festivities.

“Our vision is to create a UVM tradition that reflects the current values of the University and its students,” Cece said, “and to provide a galvanizing experience where the entire UVM community can learn about our past, have fun and celebrate Catamount pride.”

Though not all of the events proposed seem feasible without some creative fundraising ideas, it’s the perfect move to foster school spirit at the University.

The best event would be one that involves input and participation from a broad spectrum of groups on campus, ranging from students to alumni and administration.

With a lot of work and cooperation, a new Winter Carnival could be an incredible opportunity to develop a school tradition and community unity that could last for years to come.

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The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883
Winter Carnival unites the University