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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Ice rink constructed, skates still elusive

Published: January 21, 2005
Section: News

Earlier this week, a new ice skating rink was completed among the trees between the Shapiro Campus Center and the Feldberg Building. Dean Rick Sawyer and the Student Union Executive Office worked together to plan and create the rink, which Sawyer describes as a recreational addition to campus. The rink, built by Facilities staff and paid for by the offices of Associate Vice President of University Services Mark Collins and Senior Vice President for Students and Enrollment Jean Eddy, is available for student use free of charge.

Though it has not officially opened, students have been using the rink since it froze over this week. The ice rink is an interesting and unique addition to campus that is another outlet for students to have fun while embracing the New England winter, said Student Union President Mark Schlangel 05.

The construction of an ice skating rink was an idea discussed by last years Student Union Executive Office that did not come to fruition. We adopted the project again this year, making sure to lobby for it early enough in the semester to iron out all the details before winter break, said Schlangel.

Though there is an Ice Skating club at Brandeis, it was not the primary reason for the rinks creation. Zi Fan 07, a member of the Ice Skating club, said of the rink: its pretty small. The club will continue to skate at a community rink in nearby Natick.

According to Schlangel, the project was heavily supported by Dean Sawyer, who took a vested interested in seeing the rink constructed. Many of the concerns brought forth by some administrators, including cost and safety liability, were handled personally by Dean Sawyer, he said.

Sawyer admitted, the rink is a bit of a guess in terms of logistics, but that it is a good recreational addition. Schlangel agreed, saying, given that this is the first time in recent memory that there has been an ice skating rink on campus, the operational details are still under consideration and will be solidified in the coming week.

The mass email sent over winter break announcing the skating rink mentioned the possibility of renting ice skates to students. Sawyer would like to purchase used skates and rent them out of the gameroom in Usdan, he told the Hoot. I have a feeling that Brandeis students dont have skates, he said.

Fan of the Ice Skating club agreed. We wanted to teach people how to skate but the problem is the school doesnt have any skates, Fan said. It would be nice if they had some for us.

Schlangel told the Hoot that the Union is researching the possibility of skate rentals. We will inform the students as soon as a rental company has been found, he said.

Another concern is ongoing maintenance of the outdoor rink, which is already collecting dirt and leaves. I have talked with the Student Union about gathering a volunteer group to work out the maintenance program, said Sawyer. He feels that the rink will need to be flooded once a week in addition to being shoveled after snowfalls. As of now, students must clear the ice on their own if they want to skate on it.

Once all the specifics have been worked out, Schlangel said there will be a ceremonial grand opening for the skating rink. Hopefully, the rink will be a success and students will ask for it again next year. Based on the degree of support, we will reassess whether the rink adequately meets the needs of the students as is.

Many students have expressed disappointment with the finished product as a place for real skating. Wendy Awa 06 said, I appreciate the effort they went into it but it should be bigger so that it can be used by larger amounts of people at a time.

Michael Stern 05 agreed, saying, I havent really looked at it that closely, but it does look pretty small for any real skating to be done. The only thing Ive seen is one kid sliding across it on his stomach. I think its probably meant for fun more than for real skating.

I have no idea what the capacity is, said Sawyer. When people cant find space to twirl, I guess that will be the capacity.