The Winter Carnival committee of the Rensselaer Union held the annual RPI Winter Carnival on Saturday, Feb. 21, with the theme of “Avalanche.”

“Everyone from the student volunteers and attendees, to the women’s hockey team and the weather were in sync to make this a Winter Carnival to remember,” said Joe Cassidy, Rensselaer Union director.

The event kicked off with carnival games and student performances outside and in tents surrounding the East Campus Athletic Village. Though the temperatures were low and the wind was blowing, spirits were high. Smiles could be seen on the faces of students participating in the games and huddling around hot chocolate as they listened to campus a cappella groups and jazz ensembles.

The carnival once again hosted a visit from Siberian huskie sled dogs demonstrating how they pull sleds in the snow.


Groups of students worked together to build snow sculptures to compete for prizes.

As is tradition with Winter Carnival, groups of students worked together to build snow sculptures to compete for prizes. Among the sculptures created this year were an owl, a duck, and a throne. Additional teams of students also constructed their own cardboard sleds and raced them during a near blizzard at the end of the afternoon’s events.

For those who needed a break from the cold, ECAV featured prize tables, a roving magician, a make-your-own stuffed animal station, and large inflatable items, including obstacle courses, a bungee run, and a wrecking ball.

At 4 p.m. the afternoon events concluded and students ventured to Houston Field House to see the women’s hockey team take on Colgate. After the 5-3 Rensselaer victory, seniors on the team were honored as part of the annual Women’s Hockey Senior Day. Following the game and ceremony, all students were invited to take to the ice for a free skate with music and lights provided by WRPI and UPAC lights, respectively.

It is estimated that over 1,000 students took part in events occurring throughout the day. Student chairperson Conrad Mossl said, “Braving the wind, I was really glad to see so many students come out to participate in this year’s festivities. My endless thanks go to the hardworking Winter Carnival committee, the various clubs and organizations that helped staff the event, and all the administrators who helped to make this event run.”

The Winter Carnival tradition dates back to the 1950s when Rensselaer students would make snow sculptures on the lawns in and around campus. After a hiatus when there was no official snow carnival, President Shirley Ann Jackson requested the spirit of the event be resurrected in 2009. Since that time, a committee has produced a carnival each year to celebrate Rensselaer and to bring the community together.