Students build ‘rogue sculpture’

by Erin Lee | 2/15/16 7:41pm

2.16.16.news_.snowsculpture_courtesyMargaretJones
Thomas Rover ’16 organized students to build a snow sculpture despite its official cancellation.
Source: Margaret Jones/The Dartmouth Staff

When Thomas Rover ’16 heard that there would be no snow sculpture built for his last Winter Carnival, he said he was devastated. Last Thursday night, Rover and a group of about 30 other students took it upon themselves to build a “rogue” snow sculpture of the Cat in the Hat’s red and white headpiece on the Green.

Construction took about six hours, lasting from 9 p.m. last Thursday night to 3 a.m. the following morning, Rover said.

In a previous interview with The Dartmouth, Winter Council chair Harrison Perkins ’18 said the committee decided not to organize the building of a snow sculpture. He cited the lack of snow due to warmer temperatures in addition to difficulty getting students to help with construction in prior years as the main reasons.

Rover said he “took outrage” at the implication that students were apathetic about building the sculpture.

“I just didn’t feel like that was the case,” he said.

Rover added that it was easy to recruit students, as many were eager to help with the project. He sent campus-wide emails and asked members of Cabin and Trail, a Dartmouth Outing Club subgroup, to help.

Lauren Bishop ’19 said she was looking forward to being a part of the snow sculpture tradition when she came to the College, particularly as a sculptor, and was disappointed when it was cancelled. She heard about the initiative at a Cabin and Trail meeting a few days before the build and decided to participate, she said.

Maddy Kroot ’19, who spent about four hours building the sculpture, said she heard about the idea through various outlets, including Cabin and Trail, her undergraduate advisor and through the social media app Yik Yak.

“As a ’19, we’re essentially inheriting Winter Carnival, and I thought it’d be lame if ours was the first without a snow sculpture,” she said. “Everyone was suitably upset so it seemed like something worth doing.”

Rover said he learned that there would be no snow sculpture built during the first few weeks of winter term. His friend mentioned that Cabin and Trail members were thinking about building a rogue snow sculpture, and Rover took over the project on Feb. 8, the Monday before Winter Carnival, he said.

Rover said the lack of snow was a “problem of perspective.” The group used cars and trash cans to transport snow from various locations around campus, including the golf course, the Dartmouth Hall and Reed Hall lawns and Epsilon Kappa Theta sorority’s yard, he said.“There’s a lot of snow on campus, but it was all oriented horizontally, not vertically,” he said.

He added that the group actually ended up with more snow than needed for the sculpture.

Rover said one of his friends suggested making the Cat in the Hat’s hat because the shape was easy to build and fit with this year’s Winter Carnival theme, “Seuss on the Loose.”

Bishop said the number of students at the build fluctuated as the night went on, with about 15 people present at any given time. Builders took frequent breaks inside to warm up and drank hot chocolate as temperatures fell into the single digits, she said.

Kroot said the experience while cold, was fun, and many other students were supportive of the their efforts. Someone ordered pizza from Everything But Anchovies for the group that was delivered to the center of the Green at 2 a.m., she said.

Rover stressed the project was a group endeavor that drew on expertise from many different people, including Greg Partridge ’16 and last year’s snow sculpture chair Ben Nelson ’17.

“This was not my effort alone by any stretch of the imagination,” he said. “I was helped every step of the way.”

Rover said that the general feedback he has received has been overwhelmingly positive.

“People have been so happy to see it,” he said. “I’ve had alumni tell me that they’re very happy to see a snow sculpture.”

Annie Furman ’19 said many people stopped by while they were building the sculpture to offer the group snacks and support.

“It was the probably the most Dartmouth experience I’ve had so far,” she said.