With the stress of classes and exams, many students want a chance to get off campus. Iced Brew provides such an opportunity, organizing ice skating trips every Thursday.
While an organization devoted only to ice skating may sound daunting to amateur skaters, the group is inclusive of all skill levels.
For example, participant Paul Cannata ’18 has only skated a few times, but still enjoys the experience, stating, “It’s a good way to learn if you don’t know [how] yet.”
The organization strives for accessibility, allowing as many students as possible to enjoy ice skating regardless of experience or budget. The group rents out the local ice skating rink at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center from 11 p.m. to midnight. Participants only have to pay the price of renting skates.
Vice President of transportation Abigail Ren ’20 reserves the vans and organizes transportation to and from the rink. Because there are only three vans, the organization can only take a certain number of people each week, but they want to get as many people as possible involved.
Ren got involved by skating every week, eventually helping to drive the vans before applying to join the Executive Board. She stated in an email, “I think it would be nice for more people to know about the option for a fun off-campus skating event on Thursday nights.”
Publicity Chair Annelise Depman ’19 got involved in her first year when she heard about the group at the activities fair. She began skating every week, and eventually joined the executive board as well.
She explained, “I’m not even good at ice skating but I like [it] a lot.” She has improved a lot since her first time skating, describing how she felt uncomfortable on the ice at the beginning but now can do turns.
Depman underlined that Iced Brew is not only for professional skaters. In fact, many people ice skate for the first time with this organization. Depman loves watching the progress of beginners who start off nervous, holding onto the wall, but who gradually become more comfortable. She wanted to highlight that anybody who likes to skate can get involved with the group like she did.
“I feel like all my happiest memories are when I’m skating, because I went so often and something so out of the ordinary of what typically goes on here.” She continued, “Usually I don’t leave campus and I don’t get outside my routine, and this is a nice way to shake it up.”
Co-president Wenjie Xie ’19 agreed, adding in an emailed statement, “At Vassar, it’s often really easy to feel stuck in the Vassar bubble, especially for those of us who don’t have any mode of transportation off campus.”
There is a range of skills, with some skaters performing jumps and turns while others hang by the walls or skate with the walkers designed to help beginners. Whether someone consistently falls or can execute spins, everyone can enjoy themselves and there is no judgment towards those who are just starting out.
Skater Weipeng Xie ’21 has been skating for 11 years, starting when he was seven in China. He joined after the activities fair and enjoys that he can meet new people. Some ask him for tips, and he loves helping. “You can teach them and overall just have fun with the group,” he stated.
Some more experienced skaters will give pointers or encouragement, culminating in an inclusive, stress-free and low commitment environment.
As Wenjie Xie stated, “Our org is noncommitment-based, meaning that someone can come skating once a semester or come every week; it’s very much up to their personal preference depending on how it works with their schedule.”
Iced Brew meets every Thursday at 10:30 p.m outside of Main. Because demand is usually so high and that have limited spots in the three vans, it is advisable to arrive around 10:15 p.m. or so to guarantee a seat. However, anyone who can transport themselves is welcome to meet at the rink.
There is also no pressure to show up every week. Wenjie elaborated, “Because it’s so flexible, everyone is welcome to come have a good time, while also making sure no one feels pressured to commit a black of time every single week.”
In the oast, some students would arrive right before the vans and cut the people that had been waiting for longer, but now the group has organized a set of lines that will help them improve the boarding process and help them improve the boarding process and help them estimate how many people will be able to skate that night. It also allows students waiting in line to judge the chances that they will get on a van, as opposed to previous semesters when people would only find out in the moment.
Iced Brew is making some great improvements while keeping the inclusive and fun environment that students have come to love. All the participants as welcome; the only prerequisite is a desire to skate. As stated by Wenjie Xie, “The mission of this orf is to provide fun opportunities for students to get off campus with friends.”