New ice rink brings hope to the University of Connecticut

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A new ice skating rink was opened on the Great Lawn giving students a place to hang out, skate, and drink hot chocolate. Photo by Gantas Vaičiulėnas from Pexels.

The University of Connecticut Student Activities opened an ice skating rink on the Great Lawn yesterday. Along with skating, Student Activities provided free hot chocolate and chips to students waiting to skate. 

“We thought it would be really cool to have an ice rink,” Tim Watson, an eighth-semester economics major – and skating apprentice – said while talking about the inspiration for setting up an ice rink. Watson mentioned how he and Student Activities originally wanted to set up an ice rink last semester, but could not because of the weather. 

Watson hopes for the rink to stay open throughout February, so long as the weather permits. 

As students were waiting on benches by the rink for their skating session, pop music played from the speaker, featuring music from artists like Lady Gaga and Pitbull. 

“I have a few different things I can be doing,” Jenesis Miranda, an eighth-semester English major, said about her duties working at the rink. “Mainly monitoring the ice, making sure it is safe for students.” 

Miranda’s duties also include making sure students’ skates are safe and sanitized, and offering hot chocolate to those visiting the rink. There are around four to five shifts per day, with around fourteen students who work per shift. Whenever it snows, there is a crew of people assigned to clean the snow off the rink. 

All students who work at the rink are trained by supervisors who instruct students on how and what to do around the rink. According to Miranda, there are on-site instructions on what to do in case of any emergency.  

Students are given 45 minutes to skate and are required to sign up in advance. If a student is late by 15 minutes, they will lose their skating spot. 

All sign up times are currently booked for this weekend. To book a time to skate, sign up for a time on Wednesdays at noon at uKindness.edu to schedule a time. Sessions are Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m, Fridays from 6 to 9 p.m and Saturdays from 4 to 7 p.m., although the rink’s hours can also depend on the weather. All skate rentals are free, but students are allowed to bring their own skates as well.  

Students must bring their IDs and a mask in order to skate. Only 14 students are allowed on the rink at a time as part of safety measures. 

“We’re going to embrace winter and we’re going to do as much programming as we can that is physically distant and in-person and fun for the students,” President Thomas Katsouleas said about hosting events and activities similar to the ice skating rink this semester. 

If you would like more information about future activities and events on campus, visit the Student Activities website for more information. If you have any questions regarding skating, visit the UKindness website to get the latest details on skating times and rules. 

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