A fire alarm in South Quad Residence Hall last night sent its inhabitants scrambling outside to pack the newly-fallen powder into ammunition for use in the annual assault on West Quad.
East Madison Street became a battlefield as troops clothed in everything from pajama pants to shorts and sandals pelted each other with snowballs.
“This is the most fun I”ve had all year,” said LSA freshman Nebojsa Stojkovic.
Though it”s already January, the battle marked the unofficial beginning of winter on campus. The snowfall also caused dozens of accidents reported to the Washtenaw County Sheriff”s Department, including at least one crash with injuries, although no further information was available last night.
Ann Arbor Police had only responded to one spinout within a few hours of the snowfall, but Sgt. Brian Jatczak said he expected many more.
Back on campus, the annual quest for bragging rights between the two residence halls began around 8:45 last night, and by 9 it was a full-blown battle. By 9:15, it was a war.
While South Quad may have appeared to have the edge early on, its neighbor across the street emerged victorious.
“We didn”t do anything like this,” said LSA sophomore Claire Stanow, a recent transfer from Kalamazoo College. “There was a lot of streaking, but no snowball fights.”
“I got knocked on my butt by someone on this side,” added Stanow, in her second week of living in South Quad.
At 9 p.m., Stanow”s South Quad seemed to have the edge, outnumbering its cross-street rival three to one. It had made several major assaults on West Quad West Quad had made only one.
In an atmosphere thick with flying snow and noisy chaos, charges were led by foot soldiers as well as one individual with a megaphone shouting from the upper floors of South Quad.
By 9:15 West Quad had as many if not more troops than its opponent and began launching charge after charge, all of them unsuccessful.
The “troops” would crouch behind cars parked on the street, throwing a snowball across the windshield.
But students from both sides apparently had a common enemy. When a Department of Public Safety vehicle drove through the street it was pelted many times over with the best both sides could muster. Other vehicles, including a Night Owl bus, were subjected to the same treatment.
“I come back here every year,” said former West Quad resident Ike Okenwa, a Kinesiology senior who now lives on South Fifth Avenue. “I wouldn”t miss it for the world.”
By 9:30, out of snow on their side of the street, South Quad residents retreated into the courtyard where they loaded trash cans with snow and resupplied their troops on the Madison Street front.
West Quad declared victory by 10.