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Campus Life

Winterfest a Time to Skate, Sculpt

800 alumni and guests flock to campus for weekend event


Alums Marissa and Jesse Keppley were ardent BU hockey fans as undergraduates, attending all Terrier home games—even naming their son Colin Parker, after longtime men’s hockey head coach Jack Parker (SMG’68, Hon.’97).

But the Florida natives have never had much ice time themselves. That changed at Winterfest, held this past weekend on the Charles River Campus. On Saturday, Marissa (CAS’09), Jesse (CAS’08, GRS’12), and three-year-old Colin laced up for a turn around the outdoor ice rink set up on Marsh Plaza. “We were excited about skating,” Marissa Keppley said. “Marsh is my favorite place on campus. I used to study behind it when the weather was nice.”

Sponsored by the BU Alumni Association, Winterfest was scheduled for February 8 to 10, but was postponed in anticipation of the blizzard that dumped two feet on the region and closed the University. All but one of the activities were rescheduled for this weekend, which drew approximately 800 alumni and other guests to campus. The exception, a cooking demonstration, will take place on Saturday, March 16.

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Marissa Keppley (CAS'09) (from left), Colin Parker Keppley, and Jesse Keppley (CAS'08, GRS'12) at the ice skating on the rink set up in Marsh Plaza for Winterfest. Photo by Vernon Doucette

The outdoor skating rink was a first for Winterfest, now in its eighth year. Sandy Miller of Watertown learned to skate as a child, but she eyed the artificial ice skeptically. “I put my insurance card in here just in case,” said Miller, patting her coat pocket, “as a good luck charm.” Miller (GSM’77, SED’07) had been to the men’s ice hockey game on Friday night (the Terriers fell to UMass Lowell, 3-0) and attends other BU events now and then throughout the year. “I got a good education here,” she said. “It’s close by, and there’s fun stuff to do.”

On Saturday, Marsh Plaza was swirling with activity. As alumni and their families and guests glided—or in many cases, picked—their way across the ice, others lined up to have their photos taken in a giant inflatable snow globe (500 filed through during the day) after sipping cocoa and eating doughnuts.

Eight teams competed in the ice-sculpting competition. They started by sketching on tracing paper in a College of Arts & Science classroom. First-time participants Xuemei Zhong and her seven-year-old daughter, Danielle Gao, were collaborating on a drawing of the Earth, with a dove and a puppy (Danielle’s idea) at the top and the words “Peace on Earth” at the bottom. “An adventure,” said Zhong (MED’02), as she surveyed their progress.

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Xuemei Zhong (MED'02) and her daughter, Danielle Gao, plan their ice sculpture on paper. Photo by Vernon Doucette

Outside on the plaza, the teams chiseled, chipped, and scraped large blocks of ice into a dragon, a polar bear, and R2-D2. The winners: Derrick Kwan (CAS’14) and Meera Ganesan (CAS’13), for their sculpture, “Baby Patrick,” based on the starfish in SpongeBob SquarePants. The two hadn’t planned on participating, but they were on their way to study at Mugar when they stopped by for hot chocolate. “We saw free stuff,” Kwan said.

Elsewhere, alums and their families tested their skills on the rock-climbing wall at the Fitness & Recreation Center—Ellen Mak (MET’99) snapped pictures of her children, Audrey 11, and Andrew, 8, as they ascended—and worked off the doughnuts at a zumba class.

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Alumni and student broomball teams hit the ice in the second annual broomball tournament at Walter Brown Arena, with the alums picking up a win—again. Photo by Chitose Suzuki

On Friday evening, teams made up of students and alumni faced off in the second annual broomball tournament. The championship match took place after the men’s hockey game, and for the second year, an alumni team came out on top—3-0. The women’s hockey Terriers had similar success on Saturday, coming from behind to beat Connecticut 7-5 at Walter Brown Arena.

Marc DeCastro of Maynard, his wife, Wanda, and their two children made their way to Winterfest for the first time this year. Noah, 10, was interested in the arts and cultural activities, and 13-year-old Nicholas was curious about college life and “the campus Daddy used to hang out on,” said DeCastro (SMG’90), as he watched the boys skate on Saturday. The family also had tickets to see the women’s hockey game.

The one thing DeCastro wasn’t about to do: join his sons on the ice. “I like my ankles too much today.”

Cynthia K. Buccini, Managing Editor, Bostonia alumni magazine, Boston University BU
Cindy Buccini

Cynthia K. Buccini can be reached at cbuccini@bu.edu.

2 Comments on Winterfest a Time to Skate, Sculpt

  • Anon on 02.25.2013 at 11:04 am

    Soooo BU spends our money in the hopes of getting more money, to get more money instead of improving dorms and lab equipment. Great.

  • Seriously? on 02.27.2013 at 10:11 am

    BU gives free fun and benefits to alumni (and students participated, too, or did you think somehow the winners of the sculpture contest time-traveled?) and you are…angry?

    Let’s think about this a second:

    Alumni were once students.

    You are a student (albeit a whiny one) who is angry because these “once students” get free stuff and a chance to reconnect with their alma mater.

    When whiny students of the future complain about you reaping any reward with “their” (read: their parents’ or loan) money, I hope you remember this day and are embarrassed by it.

    BU brings the community together, students and alumni, and you are complaining.

    Dorms have very recently been improved, as has equipment, but it’s not to your liking, so you complain.

    And yet, anything that smells like fundraising or engaging alumni and bringing them to campus is immediately subjected to your cliched snark attack.

    Are you angry because BU relies on donations to do what it does (like all universities), or are you angry because it doesn’t consult you when it decides its priorities. Either way, maybe you should spend the rest of your time here learning a bit of common sense.

    Also, read the budget and learn a thing or two about what your money does and does not go to. Hint: Not a cent of “your money” was spent this weekend on anything that falls outside the realm of your education. Nor would “your money” be spent on dorm and equipment improvements. That’s now how the budget breaks down.

    Then, when you’ve learned a couple of new things that make life much easier to go on living, go outside more, or something. You’re starting to lose it.

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