If you doubled down on fun for winter term Monday you know all about Winter Royale. But if you missed the glitzy casino night—don’t despair-there is still fun to be had during “Winterfest”.
The Winter Royale night kicked off a week of school sanctioned fun, SOU’s own Winterfest (the event formally known as Snow Fiesta, and subsequently “No Snow Snow Fiesta”). According to the SOU Traditions website, the week is to “promote enjoying winter splendor” and in addition is “guaranteed to drive away the winter blahs.”
This is the humorous and explicit purpose of the week, but the implicit goal is much broader: to make SOU into more than just a school, and to create a community for students here at SOU. Danielle Mancuso, who is a fixture on campus and played a monumental role in the organization of the events, put it simply: “Traditions really make a community.”
Winter Royale on Monday night was the first annual event for the suave student on a budget. A limo ferried students from the Hawk to the Ashland Springs Hotel, which was decorated to resemble a ritzy and elegant casino. There were blackjack tables, a craps table, a Texas Hold ‘em table, a dance floor that was packed from the beginning of the evening to late in the night, a photo booth that instantly printed photos, free food and (non-alcoholic) drinks, and an outdoor patio area. Each table was manned by a professional dealer, and surrounded with eager students and their piles of chips. The free event, that’s right, free, an ironic twist on the very nature of casinos, saw students dressed in their classiest duds and ready to win some surprise prizes.
Mancuso is quick to point out that she did not work alone, and although she is officially the Assistant Director of Student Life for Involvement, she also facilitates the Traditions Committee. She is a part of the team that helped to organize all of the events, with the members entirely being students who are planning events while keeping up their grades. These students are the same ones that brought celebrity and transgender actress and spokesperson Laverne Cox to SOU.
The clubs on campus are well aware that college students generally do not have a lot of extra cash on hand, so all of the events are completely free, or rather, have already been paid for by the student’s incidental fee. The only exception is the two Outdoor Program snowshoe trips, and the fee for those trips is simply to pay for gear, transportation, and other logistical necessities.
Winterfest has several recurring events, such as the s’more making shenanigans you may have seen in the Stevenson Union courtyard Monday and Tuesday around noon. It also is traditional to end with the RHA Winter Ball, which will occur Saturday night at the Rogue River Room. Events that are new this year included the Winter Royale night as well as the Winter’s a Drag Show, which will be happening Thursday Night. Check out the flyers around campus.
One important note is that on the flyers, the Four mile Lake Snowshoe Trip is incorrectly listed as an event on Saturday, when it is actually going to be occurring on Sunday. Although still in the midst of Winterfest, Danielle Mancuso and her team (or rather, teams) are already planning the next tradition, Raider Days, which will help bring students together during the spring semester. If a student was interested in getting involved with the planning aspect, they are more than welcome to email Danielle at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about helping out.
“SOU is a fantastic community with a lot of neat ideas,” Danielle said in parting, “and we should celebrate that! And we will, at Winterfest.”