The real winter weekend: behind the scenes of Wilkes’ renowned celebration

Devoni Novak, Assistant News Editor

Students celebrated the notorious Winter Weekend in starkly different ways. Some students participated in an on-campus photo scavenger hunt ending with five grueling rounds Nickelodeon trivia. Others roamed South River Street with solo cups and cases of beers in their backpacks.

Every year, Student Government puts on the official campus Winter Weekend event for students. In addition to SG’s events, numerous off campus events
When asked what Winter Weekend meant to them, many students had the same reply as senior communication studies major, Evan Katz.
“Partying,” said Katz.
This year, Katz and his roommates took part in the festivities by creating their own team “Are You Afraid of the Dark? Because you look better with the lights off,” in line with SG’s theme of 90’s Nickelodeon. The team attended various off campus house parties.
Junior earth and space sciences major Mack Thomas, planned to spend his Winter Weekend checking out the special events the downtown bars had to offer. Thomas also planned to host his own house party complete with $5 cups and team t-shirts. When asked what he looks forward to on Winter Weekend, Thomas said the weekend is a time to celebrate by drinking.

One team in particular put extra planning into their party: team Rocket Power. Since the off-campus housemates previously lived in the dorms, they have looked forward to hosting their own Winter Weekend party.
Rocket Power kicked-off their party Thursday night with a team exclusive gathering to get them ready for the big weekend ahead. The team hosted a house party Friday night that included a DJ, multiple kegs and an ice luge. Saturday morning, kegs and eggs were served followed by the beer Olympics.
A party this big required a lot of work and money. Allegedly, team Rocket Power grew to over 100 people all of whom paid a $25 fee that got them a t-shirt, solo cup with unlimited refills, accesses to the house events and food. All together the team estimated that $2,000 was spent on the entire weekend. Although they originally hoped to make a profit, they considered it good budgeting to at least break even.
When asked why they spent so much time and money on this one weekend, Rocket Power team member and junior biology major Jabih Hernandez, said it was all about having a really good party and an even better time.
“Wilkes isn’t really known to be a really big party school, so to have one weekend that’s dedicated to partying makes you want to go all out,” Hernandez said.
Students that celebrate Winter Weekend through off-campus events as opposed to attending the events run by SG, do so for various reasons. Most of these students claimed that they simple didn’t hear much about SG’s Winter Weekend.
“I don’t really know what that is about,” Katz said.
Other students such as junior psychology major, Alexandra Grippo said she was unfamiliar with SG’s Winter Weekend and would be unable to go anyway because of her job at Red Robin.
“I actually didn’t hear anything about it,” Grippo said. “My freshman year I heard they do games and stuff in the SUB but I didn’t go.”
Senior psychology major Nick Zinskie said SG’s Winter Weekend was foreign to him as well.
“I don’t even know what goes on in Student Government Winter Weekend, I’ll be honest,” Zinskie said. “I actually found out a few weeks ago that it’s some scavenger hunt, I think.”
Zinskie hosted his party at The Mines on Friday, Feb. 24.  He used the event for his entrepreneurship class, in which he was required to create a project that generated money. Since Winter Weekend has always been full of memories for him, Zinskie decided to use The Mines event to finish his last year with a bang.
“It’s the one thing that we look forward to every year,” said Zinskie. “There’s not much in this area, let’s be honest, besides bars; from the beginning of the year we all know that winter weekend is going to happen, everybody looks forward to it all year.”
The party at The Mines included a DJ, live band, food from Maer’s BBQ, an appearance from Angelina of Jersey Shore and drinks compliments of Clique Vodka. Students 21 and over from neighboring colleges were invited to attend.
Zinskie believes the official Winter Weekend events don’t cater enough to the students. He feels that most students pick a school that allows them to live the college lifestyle. He is concerned that if Wilkes isn’t fun, no one will want to come here in the future.
“People are in college and some want to drink and some don’t, that’s as simple as it is,” said Zinskie.
Although some consider drinking to lead to bad behavior, Zinskie believes that the majority of students are responsible when they party. He suggests that different demographics exist among students.
“There are certain demographics that come to college for the college experience off-campus and there are also people who go to school for education, that’s how it is,” he said.
SG members hold their own opinions on students celebrating Winter Weekend off-campus.
“Realistically the students are going to do what they want to do,” said junior P-1 Pharmacy major and SG Winter Weekend coordinator, Kris Rivers. “Students are going to do what they want to do off-campus but we will continue to offer them the opportunity on-campus to participate in the activities.”
As a resident assistant, Ian Foley expressed his concerns for Winter Weekend.
“RAs like myself are committed to making sure our residents have a safe weekend, as they do each weekend of the school year,” said Foley, sophomore political science and communication studies major. “We are a very safe campus and public safety also does a good job at making the campus safe.”
However, some would disagree. Zinskie said he frequently calls Public Safety for a safe ride to avoid driving while he’s drunk, although he can tell Public Safety does not like giving rides.
“I go to ask for a ride home from the bar and they give me a lot of grief about it,” Zinskie said. “I do it every weekend, that’s what they’re there for.”
Rebo negated Zinskie’s assumption that it is Public Safety’s duty to pick up drunk students.
“Public Safety will come and pick you up, but not from the bars,” Rebo said. “Call a taxi for that. That’s “Saferides” job.”
“SafeRides” is a service for Wilkes students, who are under the influence of alcohol, with transportation back to campus.  The cabs are free to the students and each student’s identity will be kept confidential according to the Wilkes website.
Public Safety officer Zakk Patterson said Public Safety’s main concern with Winter Weekend is vandalism.
“Our main objective is to keep campus safe from any vandalism that may go on,” Patterson said.
Patterson also stated that the Safe Ride policies have been revised because too many were taking advantage of the service. Now, students can only use the Safe Ride for an on-campus address.
Different perspectives on Winter Weekend exist across campus. Everyone celebrates spring’s arrival in their own way and memories are created regardless.
Junior mechanical engineering major Sloan Citriello shared his fondest Winter Weekend memory.
“Freshman year I got really drunk, and then I took two Natty Lights and put them in my jeans and went to Rifkin,” Citriello said. “I ordered something and put them on top of the tables and I was drinking a beer in Rifkin. Nobody said anything to me and it was fine, I don’t know how I got away with it.”