By Leah Wilkinson

Members of the Bellarmine community can come together for a winter wonderland Friday night.

Bellarmine’s first in-person event of the year will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Via Cassia lot (also known as Lot 4) with ice skating and horse-drawn carriage rides and treats such as hot cocoa.

“We couldn’t have any in-person events this first week because of gateway testing, so this is really our big kickoff event with in-person things,” said Madison Martin, interim assistant director of student activities.

The event, put together by the Student Activities Center (SAC) and the Office of Residence Life, was originally scheduled to take place in January 2020.

“We actually had this same event planned for last January, and then the weekend when it was supposed to be we had a huge ice storm and had to cancel it because the horses couldn’t come out and all of that,” Martin said.

Martin said most of the event was planned during winter break.

“I would have to say I’m really excited that Bellarmine is doing this for the students,” senior Katy Goens said.

Martin said the ice skating was inspired by the roller skating that took place in the Via Cassia lot at Bellarmine’s 70th birthday celebration in October. She said although ice skating typically takes place off-campus, she hopes the event brings students together.

“Because we can’t do [off-campus ice skating] this year, we thought this was a good alternative,” Martin said.

Goens, who will be working the event, said she’s glad students will still have the opportunity to skate safely in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We usually go to Alpine Ice Arena down the street,” Goens said. “However, with Bellarmine having their own rink on campus, they can control social distancing and mask wearing on the ice.”

Bryan Hamann, interim director of student activities, said carriage rides will take place in several parking lots.

“It’s gonna do a figure-8 route, so it’ll leave from that Lot 4, which is right behind UDH, and it’ll head out towards first-year parking and do a loop that way and then come back and go in front of the SuRF and go around Knights Hall and then drop you back off [at Via Cassia],” Hamann said. “We’ll have two carriages going at a time.”

Hamann said there will also be giveaways and snow.

“We got a snow machine that blows out, I think, like 400 mL per minute,” Hamann said. “I have no idea what that equates to in terms of snow, but it should be fun.”

Martin said the goal is to get students out of their rooms and having fun on campus.

“It’s hard to kind of get students to come down from the hill of the residence halls, especially in these colder months and especially because [the event is] not in Centro — it’s a little bit further — so we’re hoping students are willing to come out,” Martin said.

Goens said she believes the event will be successful.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Goens said. “Along with the free food and carriage rides, this will be a fun winter wonderland to start off the spring semester.”

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