Keeping tradition alive

Elika Roohi/Sun Star Editor-in-Chief
February 26, 2013

This weekend is Winter Carnival, the often forgotten Nanook Tradition of UAF.  But we haven’t forgotten about it this year, and you should be getting ready for a weekend of fun events and school spirit.

Winter Carnival starts on Thursday, Feb. 28 and lasts through Saturday, March 2.  The tradition is well known for the Governor’s Cup Hockey Games between UAF and UAA, but includes other events that celebrate winter.

This year, students can look forward to outdoor activities such as Ice Dodgeball, an Ice Climbing Competition and testing out their sweet moves at the newly opened Nanook Terrain Park, along with the insane display of school pride that comes out of the woodworks at the weekend’s hockey games against UAA.

Next year, UAF will join the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, so games against UAA will be more common than once a year.  This has students worried that this year’s Gov Cup is the last and whoever wins this tournament will get to keep the cup forever.  These are all rumors, assures Jamie Foland, the Alaska Nanooks Director of Media Relations.  The tournament will continue to be a well-loved UAF tradition.

The first recorded Winter Carnival in Fairbanks was in 1936, according to the Wood Center website, although less organized events to break up the never-ending winter in Fairbanks have been going on longer than that.  The celebration originally started out as a tradition in town, but was quickly picked up by students at the university. Students constructed a toboggan slide and rallied for their “Polar Bear” hockey team.

Celebrating the different Nanook Traditions has always been one of my favorite parts of UAF.  Springfest is usually everyone’s favorite, with warm weather, mud volleyball and the end of school in sight.  And Starvation Gulch takes a close second because we get to watch a lot of stuff catch on fire.  But Winter Carnival has always been around to break up the monotony right as winter starts to wear people down.

UAF’s traditions are around to remind us that we’re part of the greater community and history of this campus.  Nearly 85 years ago, UAF students were building a toboggan slide and cheering on their hockey team, and today we’re opening up our recently completed terrain park and rallying for the Nanooks this weekend.

ASUAF Vice President Dillon Ball, a good friend, once remarked to me that many of the things ASUAF does right now are the same things they’ve been doing forever.  Variations on the same pieces of legislation and discussions of the same issues are apparent throughout ASUAF’s history.  And on the same page, The Sun Star has been writing the same stories for decades.  An examination of the paper from the late 70s proved that recently.

Between the Ice Dodgeball games and the Ice Climbing competition, this year’s Winter Carnival looks like it’s going to keep UAF’s tradition of mid-winter fun alive.  Enjoy the weekend and go Nooks!

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