Winter comes to UNF

Katie Gile

By: Katie Gile


Just as the Florida winter weather warms once more, the Osprey Plaza at the Student Union will burst with the sights, sounds and smells of the chilly season. Osprey Productions will present its first-ever Winter Fest as a kick-start to the Spring semester from 5-9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 5.

The fest will feature an outdoor ice-skating rink, toboggan slide and a giant snow globe to climb into. OP will also offer all manners of cold-weather comfort food, including hot chocolate, bratwurst and grilled cheese.

Though the ice rink and toboggan slide are restricted to those 18 and older for liability reasons, the fest is open and entirely free to all UNF students and their friends.

“We’re really excited. It’s a great way to start off the new semester and keep campus life interesting,” said Nichole Vanderpool, an OP member and UNF communication freshman.

Beginning with Winter Fest, new and returning Ospreys will play guinea pigs to OP’s newest initiative, which will more than double on-campus events at UNF.

Courtesy of UNF’s new Student Life and Services Fee, OP will have the means to increase its events from 24 to 52 per semester, said OP Director Brent Fine.

“Our focus is on increasing the weeknight events that we do successfully and on adding brand new weekend events,” Fine said.

The Student Life and Services Fee, entirely new to the Spring 2012 semester, costs UNF students $5.15 per credit hour each semester.

OP Public Relations Chair Lauren Katz said the fee will help to make its plans for a vibrant campus into a reality.

“It’s really great that we were able to partner with Student Life and Services. That gives us the means to make campus more enjoyable for students.”

Much of the impetus for the increased events came from concern for freshmen required to live on campus in the Fall semester.

OP wants to engage freshmen in campus events as much as possible, Fine said.

“We need to test this out,” Fine said. “We want to provide [incoming freshmen] things to do on the weekend, but we need to know what to provide. This semester is our test run.”

Growing student involvement and awareness in decision-making played a large role in the event programming as well, Katz said.

“Students want more to do,” she said, “so we’re giving them more to do.”