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The art of Human Bowling

SU's Traditions Committee introduces a striking activity to the annual Winter Carnival.

It only took Beth Anne Kieft one semester to notice the effects Syracuse winters had on student interaction. As a freshman at Syracuse University, she routinely listened to her classmates complain that the weather hindered them from completely relishing their college experiences.

Seeking to address her counterparts’ concerns, Kieft decided to join the Traditions Committee at SU. The organization works with Alumni Relations and Traditions in Student Life to uphold and enact campus-wide traditions like Goon Squad and Homecoming.

Photo: Jill Chandler
Nicole Roberts practices for her first attempt at human bowling.

One of the most prestigious traditions is Winter Carnival. As the President of the Traditions Committee, Kieft was aiming to sustain the success of the annual festival, which started in 1930

 “We want students to have a good time,” Kieft said. “You know how it’s gloomy; it’s cold and snowy. We want to bring a good time to the campus. We want people to enjoy their time during the winter, get them involved, and let them have a good outside of the class work.”

This year’s Winter Carnival, which took place at Tennity Ice Skating Pavilion on South Campus, featured an innovative addition to the event list: human bowling. For this event, students were required to push a team member, who was sitting on a sled, across the hockey rink in the hopes of knocking down all the (inanimate) bowling pins.

Nicole Roberts, a sophomore advertising major, took the initial gamble of becoming the human bowling ball for her team, nicknamed “Team Tye-Dye”, and wholeheartedly embraced her role.

“I love doing crazy things,” Roberts said. “It was my first time, and I thought this would be the most fun thing to do. It was really exciting, but the only negative was I can’t feel my body parts at the moment because my pants are wet from sliding down the ice.”

Competing for Psi Upsilon, Evan Lang, a freshman television, radio and film major, suffered a similar outcome by scraping his knee during a trip down the ice. Despite the injury, though, Lang said he appreciated the opportunity to bond and compete with his fraternity brothers in a unique setting.

For Kieft, that reaction has made all her efforts throughout the last three years worthwhile.

“The entire goal of the weekend has definitely been accomplished,” Kieft said. “In past years, it hasn’t been very popular, but this year there’s definitely a lot of people warming up to the idea of Winter Carnival.”

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