Inaugural Winterland Provides Entertainment, Engagement

January 27, 2015 Olivia Johnson, Staff Writer

On Friday students were given the opportunity to partake in a classic winter activity during this not-so-cold winter season. Associated Students Productions held the first Winterland inside of the student center ballroom, where students were able to drop their bags at the door, grab some skates and head onto the “ice.”

Charlie Baker, a senior at Sonoma State University, and special events director for ASP, came up with the idea of bringing an ice rink to the students months ago and the process of setting up the event has been going on ever since. Baker held high hopes for the turnout and what the students would gain from this event. 

“This was our first event for the semester,” said Baker. “It’s kind of our baby steps to creating bigger and more extravagant events that not only bring fun for the students, but help build the community as a group. Making [students] proud to be a Seawolf.” 

The biggest question was, how does one bring an ice rink to the student center? 

Set up started early in the day and consisted of many separate pieces that could be connected as a whole like a puzzle piece. The rink was made up of these pieces with a little bit of a solution on top to make the ice skating aspect more effective. Baker shared a few of the struggles they encountered and the challenges they were forced to face, some of which consisted of those puzzle pieces not all fitting in the Student Center elevator. Other problems included missing tarps that were needed to be laid out for the rink to go on top of. But there was nothing a trip to the closest store couldn’t fix. 

Baker’s biggest challenge? Finding the location for the event. He said that at first they wanted Winterland to be held in the new Student Center parking lot. However, due to a confliction in scheduling dates, they were unable to go with their first choice for location, but luckily were able to book and set it up in the ballroom. 

The atmosphere in the room was a good one, and the ballroom was large enough to not only give tons of space for students to line up for the rink but there was also a disc jockey set up with tables and chairs all around. Gabriel Duran, Baker’s right-hand man for the event was DJ for the event. Duran is a third- year student and is the director for Associated Students “Live @ SSU.” When it came to the entertainment aspect for the event, Duran was the man to call. He was the one that set up the DJs and the live performances that took place later in the evening, and was looking to bring a specific type of vibe to the environment, which seemed to be quite a popular one with the students. 

“Of course we wanted the DJs just to pump up the people coming, we wanted that cool atmosphere,” said Duran. “We know people like DJs, we know people like live music. We usually don’t do both so we thought, ‘Why not?’” 

The music played an integral part, helping students to enjoy themselves and pass the time, especially if they were standing in line waiting to get on the ice. Sophomore Jordan Merkin struggled with making her way around the rink but always had a smile on her face. 

“As those would say the music is on fleek and the overall energy is a good one. The rink is a little hard to skate on but thank goodness for the side railings,” said Merkin. 

In the words of Baker, “The Winterland event is just the beginning.”