Hundreds of University of Michigan students and Ann Arbor community members glided in and out of the Diag Monday night, lured by the festive white and blue lights and the sound of cheer floating through the air. Central Student Government hosted a classic holiday experience, where they provided hot chocolate, cookies, music and — the main event — an ice skating rink.
CSG partnered with Record-A-Hit Entertainment and the Residence Hall Association to transform the Diag into a winter wonderland. Decked out in LED flashing lights and white and blue balloons, the notable campus space invited students to ring in a festive mood and celebrate the end of classes.
Holiday classics like “Jingle Bells,” timeless hits like “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift and the iconic U-M anthem “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers rang out in the Diag. Participants lined up for holiday treats and hot chocolate, and took photos against the festive backgrounds.
The idea originated from a group of students in the LSA Entrepreneurial Creativity class. Kinesiology junior Dylan Steele, one of the group members, said they hoped to host an event that could help alleviate the stress students face during finals week and cold winter months.
“I wanted to find something to bring the community together right before exams,” Steele said. “So far, (it) looks like (the event has) done a pretty good job of that.”
LSA sophomore Bipasha Ray, CSG chief programming officer and the main organizer of this event, further described the purpose of the event and CSG’s collaboration with students enrolled in Entrepreneurial Creativity.
“They reached out to us and said, ‘We had this idea for an event,’ and we totally agreed with its goals,” Ray said. “We thought this would be a really great way to take a break from all the work that we are doing, take a breather, hang out with friends and enjoy the winter season. It is a really great event to just come together as a community.”
Engineering freshman Trisha Maturi attended the event and said the event can help students take a break from final exam preparations.
“Finals week is coming up so everyone is really, really stressed, so it’s really nice to have a break from all of the studying,” Maturi said.
Ray said she was pleased with the high turnout at the event and that students were taking advantage of its offerings.
“I knew it would go one of two ways,” Ray said. “One, there would be like three people on the ice rink and we’d have lots of extra food, or there would be a line for the ice skating rink. And now there’s a massive line for the food table and there’s a massive line for the skating rink, so it definitely went the more positive way.”
LSA freshman Varsha Shankar attended the event and said she hopes to see CSG host more events that revamp campus spaces in the future, similar to how the “Winter Wonderland” event did.
“I’ve never really (seen) this in a school setting before, so it sounded really unique,” Shankar said. “I hope to see more events like this.”
Daily News Contributor Mira Sripada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.