February 28, 2010

Students Face Off in ‘Epic’ Arts Quad Snow Fight

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The scene on the Arts Quad on Friday was one of mass destruction — ground upturned, bodies lying breathless and shots fired unceasingly from every direction. On the other side of the country students at Berkeley may have been throwing fire to advocate for public education, but Cornellians hurled snow with equal intensity in what may well have been the biggest snowball fight ever on the Arts Quad.

As the clock struck 2:30 p.m., more than 300 members of the student body demolished the serene covering of snow that had layered the Arts Quad, packing snowballs that would catch fighters and civilians alike in the crossfire.

The Facebook invitation — which spread the word of the fight — seemed enticing enough. With the roads prohibitively difficult to navigate and many of the campus facilities closed, what better way to spend an afternoon? By Friday, over 1,300 people had responded that they were attending.

“I was pretty happy when the RSVP’s hit 100. That was about what I expected, just the people I knew and then maybe a few others,” said Harrison Gill ’09, who created the Facebook event. “After that I pretty much watched in amazement as the number of people attending kept creeping up. I didn’t realize how big it had gotten until Friday morning when I overheard people in class talking about going.”

Some students in attendance quickly retreated to the patio above Olin Library, where they launched ammunition from higher ground. The rest of the group fired from below, seiging those within their citadel.

No one was spared. The sick, the cold and the tired all took hits as they passed through the south side of the quad near Ho Plaza. The fight was anticipated to last only 15 minutes, but it showed no signs up letting up after over an hour.

As the battle finally calmed, and students grew tired of the violence, peace fell over the battleground and students came together in a utopic truce. As night fell, the war had finally come to an end.

Maybe it was anger over having to go to classes that day. Maybe it was the pent up rage spawned by two weeks of continuous snow fall. Or maybe it was the wet snow, lying there, waiting to be balled up and hurled at the nearest target. Whatever it was, the event, created just days before, ignited the interest of the student body.

Harrison Gill got the idea from his previous school.

“Honestly the idea just popped into my head a few days ago. I transferred here,” he said. “At my previous college some kids set up a similar event for a pillow fight and I thought it would be cool to bring something like that to Cornell.”

For a brief moment in time, as the snow rained down on Ithaca, the Arts Quad was the place to be. As CALS students hurled snowballs at Arts students, and engineers buried architects in snow, rumor had it that A.D. White and Ezra Cornell just might have nodded at each other across the quad and smiled. “Any person, any snowball fight,” Ezra whispered.

Original Author: Ben Eisen