SUBOG’s One Ton Sundae fills its 400 person capacity
On Friday, Jan. 22, the Student Union Board of Governors announced on its Instagram page that One Ton Sundae, the UConn tradition of filling up a bucket with Dairy Bar ice cream, would be back for the spring 2021 semester on Friday, Feb. 12 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Student Union Terrace. Students interested in attending were required to sign up via a Google form, according to the post.
Tianna Felder, SUBOG’s major weekends chairwoman and sixth-semester consumer behavior major, said SUBOG was unable to conduct One Ton Sundae in its traditional format due to COVID-19 restrictions. Instead of students selecting their own ice cream during the event, they will receive pre-scooped buckets.
“Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, we must follow, such as the number of students allowed on the terrace at once, we had to limit the number of available spots for One Ton Sundae,” Felder said. “With all of these factors and the reduced on-campus attendance, we determined 400 buckets was a reasonable maximum.”
Before the event was planned, the 400 student maximum was determined after analyzing data from previous SUBOG on-campus events during COVID-19 and prior One Ton Sundae events, Felder said.
“As a result, we planned the release of sign ups so that students would have the whole first week of quarantine to sign up,” Felder said. “Turn[s] out for Homecoming week and other in-person SUBOG events this year has not come remotely close to 400 students. Therefore, we did not expect to run out of spots so quickly.”
“Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, we must follow, such as the number of students allowed on the terrace at once, we had to limit the number of available spots for One Ton Sundae.”
One Ton Sundae had to be a one-day event because SUBOG does not have enough volunteers to distribute the pre-scooped buckets over multiple days, Felder said.
“Many members do not live on or are not even close to campus, and handing out 400 buckets of ice cream takes a lot of hands,” Felder said. “SUBOG is a student organization run by students and working to accommodate as many students as possible at an event like this, and we must be considerate of those working the event as well.”
Felder said One Ton Sundae will not happen again during the spring 2021 semester.
“One Ton Sundae has been an event that happens once during Winter Weekend,” Felder said. “It requires collaboration with organizations and groups other than SUBOG and doing it more than once would break the novelty of our beloved One Ton Sundae tradition.”
Before the sign-up form went live, SUBOG posted a teaser on their feed and story telling students to be prepared for upcoming in-person events, Felder said.
Some University of Connecticut students were not pleased with the planning of the event.
Jeremy Weingarten, an eighth-semester allied health sciences major, said he saw the sign-up announcement approximately 16 hours after the Friday, Jan. 22 Instagram post and was unable to secure a spot.
Weingarten said he thinks the 400 student maximum was too low of a number to represent the current on-campus student population.
“As a senior, I have always tried to sign up for the One Ton Sundae, but every year it has either conflicted with my classes or SUBOG ran out of ice cream,” Weingarten said. “UConn needs to show more initiative in helping students enjoy their time on campus and not just making an event to say they had one.”
Ava Kovlakas, an eighth-semester anthropology major, said she saw the sign-ups soon after @subogatuconn posted. Since there was no deadline, she waited until later in the day to submit and was informed that the event reached its capacity.
“Registration didn’t seem to be open long, so students who hadn’t happened to check their phone and specifically Instagram would have absolutely no chance of getting a sundae,” she said.
Kovlakas said she thought the sign-ups would be a great way to make sure students can get a sundae.
“Considering the current situation, it makes complete sense that there would be a cap on sign-ups for a popular event that’s dependent on food and in-person contact,” Kovlakas said. “But it’s just that, a popular and iconic UConn event. It makes me wonder how many total people have been able to get sundaes in past years.”
Allegra Mendiratta, a second-semester applied mathematics major, said she understands why there is a limit to how many students can attend One Ton Sundae.
“I understand that SUBOG can only have limited numbers, but I wish they could have spread one of the biggest events over several days,” Mendiratta said. “I’ve never been and I was really excited to go.”
Jailynn Vidro, an eighth-semester psychological sciences major, said she did not get a reserved spot and wished she got more of a heads up from SUBOG.
“It is really unfortunate because I had no idea the event was happening, so as a senior, I didn’t even get a chance to participate because by the time the submissions were closed, I had just found out,” Vidro said.
A few of the Instagram comments noted they encountered technical difficulties when they tried to sign up for the event. Felder said students had to be signed in with their UConn email to fill out the form, which may have caused the issue. She said SUBOG re-added the link in their bio and had its Outreach team responding to direct messages to help students.
Jessica Wiener, an eighth-semester communication major, said she had trouble with the Google form and was unable to become one of the 400 students who will receive a One Ton Sundae. She said she was logged into her UConn email account but still could not complete the form.
“It’s really disheartening that the sign ups for such a fun and popular event closed so fast, especially because I was having technical difficulties with the Google form that I did not get a chance to fix before they announced the closure,” Wiener said.
For the 400 students who were able to successfully fill out the form, they will be able to pick their ice cream flavors and individually wrapped toppings for their pre-scooped buckets, Felder said.
“Since everything is already prepared they will get to their sundae in a quicker time,” she said.
For the students who did not get one of the reserved spots, Felder said students will have the chance to pick up any unclaimed buckets.
“At the end of the event, if there are buckets that have not been picked up by students who signed up, students have the opportunity to claim them,” she said. “In response to students voicing how they feel about the 400 limits, we are looking into opening a couple more spots specifically for seniors.”