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The List - One year, hundreds of stories. 2014-15 Progress Report.

Campus News

UB ramps up winter session offerings


Published October 9, 2014

“Learning never ends.”
Matt Blum, director of summer/winter enrollment
Office of the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management

After an inaugural voyage last year that “exceeded expectations,” UBThisWinter, the university’s winter session, is back for January 2015 with an expanded selection of courses, study abroad opportunities and other activities designed to engage the UB community during the weeks between the fall and spring semesters.

“Learning never ends,” notes Matt Blum, director of summer/winter enrollment in the Office of the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management. “We want to get people thinking about winter and how winter session is part of the year-round calendar,” rather than just a three-week slot between semesters.

Winter session, which runs from Jan. 5-23, offers a wide variety of options for all members of the UB community, Blum says, so participants can create “their own experiences.”

More courses are being offered on campus and online — registration is now open — for both UB students and students who attend other institutions but who may want to take a course at UB while at home for the holidays.

Faculty and staff also are encouraged to take a winter session course or sign up for professional development or personal wellness programs being offered by the offices of Organizational Development & Training and Wellness/Work-Life Balance. Those program details will be available later this fall.

Members of United University Professions are eligible to take one course tuition-free each semester — including during winter session, union officials point out. UUP members must enroll in this course online, rather than through the usual student registration proves.

Another key component of winter session, the study abroad option, “has really  taken off,” Blum says, noting the number of offerings has increased to 12 from the eight offered in January 2014 thanks to the work of Mary Odrzywolski, director of study abroad programs, and her staff.

And while many students over the years have taken advantage of the winter break in classes to volunteer and take part in community service, Alternative Winter Break opportunities have now been formally rolled into UBThisWinter, he says.

A goal of UBThisWinter is to clear up “misconceptions” about winter, Blum points out. “We want people to realize that many opportunities are available during the winter,” he says. To that end, winter session also will feature traditional outdoor activities, among them trips to the Kissing Bridge and Holiday Valley ski resorts, and the Colden Tubing Company snowtubing park, as well as ice skating on Lake LaSalle. Other activities being planned include rock climbing at Niagara Falls Climbing Center, bowling at Transit Lanes and laser tag at Lasertron.

To raise the campus community’s awareness of the opportunities available through UBThisWinter, a series of free events will take place this fall to get faculty, staff and students “thinking about winter,” Blum says. All events will be held from noon to 4 p.m. in the Student Union lobby. The schedule:

  • UBThisWinter Carnival, Oct. 14: Decorate snowflake cookies, eat snowcones, make snowmen, drink some hot chocolate and spin the snow wheel for prizes.
  • What’s your Winter IQ? And Hot Cocoa Bar, Nov. 3: Quizmaster Dennis George will test your knowledge of winter facts and figures. Grab a mug of cocoa from the Hot Cocoa Bar where you can customize your cocoa with a variety of toppings.
  • Gingerbread House Competition, Nov. 17: Individuals and teams will be provided all the materials needed to make a gingerbread house. Prizes will be awarded.
  • Winter Igloo Competition, Dec. 1: Team up with friends to create an igloo diorama with marshmallows and toothpicks. Prizes will be awarded.

For more information on winter session, visit the UBThisWinter website.