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UB embracing winter season with traditional outdoor activities

Free ice skating at Canalside is one of the signature events of UBThisWinter. Photo: Courtesy of Canalside

By SUE WUETCHER

Published December 18, 2014

“We’re trying to enhance the culture and embrace winter.”
Matt Blum, director of summer/winter enrollment
Office of the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management

Ice skating at Canalside. A carnival in the Student Union. Curling at RiverWorks.

These are just a few of the activities UB faculty, staff and students can enjoy next month as part of UBThisWinter, the university’s Winter Session.

Winter Session, which runs Jan. 5-23, offers courses, study abroad programs and volunteer, community service and other activities to engage members of the UB community during the weeks between the fall and spring semesters.

But Winter Session “is not just for students,” stresses Matt Blum, director of summer/winter enrollment in the Office of the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management. “We’re trying to enhance the culture and embrace winter,” he says.

Faculty and staff also can take a class, both on campus and online, or sign up for professional development or personal wellness programs. More information is available on the UBThisWinter website.

And new this year are events designed to “promote the beauty of winter,” Blum points out. “We want people to realize that many opportunities are available during the winter.”

All these traditional seasonal activities are open to faculty, staff and students. Many are free of charge.

Among those events are a Winter Carnival on the North Campus and ice skating at the new Canalside skating venue in downtown Buffalo. The events are a cross-campus collaboration between UBThisWinter, Work/Life Balance, the Division of Athletics and the Office of International Student Scholars and Services .

Winter Carnival, set for 1-4 p.m. Jan. 10 in the Student Union, will offer an afternoon of carnival games, miniature golf, arts and crafts, basketball free throws, window painting, hot cocoa, prize giveaways and ice skating on the Student Activities ice rink, weather permitting. The event is free and open to all UB students, faculty, staff, alumni and their families. Register online.

At Skating @ Canalside, to take place from 2-4 p.m. Jan. 18, UB students, faculty, staff and their families can take advantage of free ice skating — including skate rentals — and hot cocoa at the new Canalside skating venue on the site of the old Memorial Auditorium, the Buffalo Sabres’ longtime home before First Niagara Center. Register online.

Other activities include:

  • Movie Madness — with popcorn — sponsored by the undergraduate Student Association. Films to be screened include “Edge of Tomorrow,” “The Godfather: Parts 1, 2 and 3,” “The Goonies” and “Remember the Titans.” Check the UBThisWinter website for dates, times and screening locations.
  • Frigid Friday Fun: Trip to Kissing Bridge for first-time skiiers, Jan. 9; snowtubing at Colden Tubing Company, Jan. 16; curling with the Buffalo Curling Club, Jan. 23, RiverWorks. Visit the UBThisWinter website for details.
  • UB basketball: Cheer on the Bulls as they take on Western Michigan on Jan. 13 (women) and Northern Illinois on Jan. 14 (men). Catch a Bulls’ doubleheader on Jan. 17, with the women playing Ball State and the men Miami (Ohio). Tickets can be purchased online or at the Alumni Arena ticket office.

Blum notes that Winter Session is poised for a great second year: 1,500 students have signed up to take classes during the three-week session, a 50 percent increase over the 1,000 students who registered last year. Those students have registered for 5,000 credit hours, compared to the 3,600 credit hours students earned last year.

Participation in study abroad programs also has increased dramatically, according to Mary Odrzywolski, director, Study Abroad Programs. UB is sending 168 students abroad during winter 2015 through programs administered by UB and other SUNY campuses, compared with 123 students during winter 2014. These figures include a handful of students —12 in 2015 and four in 2014 — who attend institutions other than UB, Odrzywolski adds.

The number of programs offered also has grown, from nine in 2014 to 12 in 2015, she says.

“This trend of more UB students going abroad on UB programs for the winter session is very encouraging,” she says. “We are offering more programs that are appealing to UB students and even students from other campuses. This winter we have students from Pace University, Fordham University, Brooklyn College, Erie Community College and the SUNY campuses at Albany, Binghamton, Fredonia and New Paltz going on UB programs abroad.”

Blum says Winter Session offers a great opportunity for faculty and staff to take advantage of a time of year when they may have some “downtime” by taking a class or workshop, or just getting out and enjoying what many believe is Buffalo’s best season of the year. The full lineup of offerings is available on the UBThisWinter website.