UNA UPC raising money for temporary ice rink

The University Program Council is trying to raise enough money from local businesses to pay for an artificial ice rink on campus.

The ice rink is part of a series of events called “Snow Daze,” which will take place in January and February 2016, said Vice President of UPC Adam McCollum. He said the series of campus events includes a service day, polar plunge, semi-formal ball, horse and carriage rides and an ice rink.

“(February) is one of the most dreary times on campus,” McCollum said. “There’s nothing going on, it’s past Christmas and no one really wants to be there.”

He said UPC’s goal is to raise the money by the end of December. The ice rink would only be on campus for two days and will cost about $16,000, he said.

There are flat areas around campus that would be suitable for the ice rink’s location, like the practice field and parking lots, said UPC Pro Tempore Amanda Areostatico.

“We are looking to set up the ice rink at the practice field,” she said.

McCollum said Athletic Director Mark Linder said he is interested in the ice rink, but needs more details on the materials that will be on the field.

Junior Mai Curott said she supports the idea of the ice rink, conditionally.

“If (the ice rink) is temporary, that would be good,” she said. “I feel like a permanent structure is more of an investment.”

Where there are events, there is money. The ice rink is the most expensive part of the series, costing nearly double that of the other “Snow Daze” activities.

McCollum said the exact cost of the rink is not certain right now because they are still negotiating with the company.

While UPC typically uses its cut of the student activity fee to pay for students’ entertainment, funding for the ice rink will not come entirely from the fee. UPC approved spending $2,938 toward the ice rink, but the remaining funds must come from donations, he said.

The total amount UPC will spend on “Snow Daze,” including the allotted funds for the ice rink is about $9,000, according to the budget.

“It’s not that we’re spending $16,000 of the students’ money on this,” McCollum said.

“If we can secure outside funding, then we will proceed,” McCollum said. “But if we can’t, we just can’t, unfortunately.”

Due to the South’s notoriously inconsistent winter weather, the rink will not be made of real ice.

“They have these platinum sheets that they put down,” McCollum said. “Then, they layer it with like a liquid substance that makes it feel like ice and skate like ice. It’ll be a synthetic rink, so we don’t have to worry about it melting.”

He said the rink will be open to both UNA students and the community.

“We wanted to have something that people could expect in a college town and some things that will bring the community and the college together,” he said. “That’s why we would want to open it up to (them). Plus, we’re asking for the community’s money to fund it, so we want them to come and enjoy it as well.”

Senior Coddy MacNeill said he is concerned as to what the university’s priorities are.

“I like the idea of an ice skating rink on campus, however, I think there are better things the money could be used for,” he said.