Students organize mass snowball fight over messaging app

Students gather in front of Willy T Library for snowball fight on the evening of Feb.15. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Kernel news staff

Update (9:30 p.m.): The crowd has dwindled to around 50 dedicated participants.

Update (8:30 p.m.): The crowd has downsized by half pretty quickly to about 400 to 500 participants left, and snowball fighting has died down as of 8:30 p.m.

However, the crowd has gotten riskier with their sledding choices and the collisions have become more common. 

Update (8:15 p.m.): As students the sledding and snowball fighting approaches nearly an hour since it started, the crowd doesn’t seem to be shrinking. 

Sledders have gotten creative in what they use for their sledding including a table, kayak, and many other makeshift sleds.

Crowds at the bottom of the bowl have now turned their attention to a traditional two-sided snowball fight. 

Update (7:53 p.m.): UK spokesperson Jay Blanton responded to news of the event by saying, “I wasn’t witness to the event, but in general we expect our students to follow the appropriate healthy behaviors and believe that the vast majority continually do so.They have been incredible this year.”

In terms of any consequences that may come from the gathering, Blanton said, “To the extent that those guidelines and behaviors aren’t followed, we would hope they are reported to the Office of Student Conduct, which can follow up in an appropriate fashion.” 

Update (7:42 p.m.): The fighting continues.

Matthew McCater, a participant in the snowball fight, said the fighting began as a back and forth and then a bit of throwing at the sledders but turned into a free for all. He also said that the event meant something to him as a freshman. 

“It is my first year, and I like that it was just a quick planned thing and everyone got together. It’s good for school spirit, I guess,” McCarter said.

Calista Robinson, a freshman kinesiology major, said she was there all for the snowballs, even when others said the icy precipitation wasn’t the perfect ammunition, as a way to have fun with her friends. 

“It’s college and we should be having these experiences,” Robinson said.

Update (7:22 p.m.): Snowball fighting began officially at 7:19 p.m. as the Willy T bowl erupted into pure chaos when snow balls starting flinging amongst the crowd of nearly 700 people now. 

Update (7:17 p.m.): The event kicked off around 7:15 p.m. with at least 500 students in attendance right now. 

“I feel like Eli Capilouto is going to be so disappointed in us,” said one bystander. 

James Crom, a junior kinesiology and health promotion major and a member of the chat since last night, said he was unsure how the chat actually started. 

Crom also said that it was important to him that the participants were wearing masks, and that he hoped this would alleviate some of the loneliness that COVID has brought. 

“I don’t want anyone to be lonely… We’ve got the UK community out here, and we can make some friends and take care of what you need to take care of,” Crom said. 

Members in the group chat are currently asking how many participants are there and asking for directions to the event.

Original Story: As UK canceled classes on the afternoon of Monday Feb.15, UK students quickly made plans to take advantage of the snow day. 

In the online messaging app GroupMe, thousands of UK students joined a chat named “Willy T snowball fight 7 pm 2/15” and planned to meet outside the library.

The group grew to over 2,000 members by late afternoon with the chat turning into a stream of memes, Spotify playlists, and eventually some attempts at planning the actual fight with the discussion of choosing teams. 

As the evening wore on, the icy precipitation led to poor conditions for forming snowballs, leading to some students expressing a wish to move the fight to Thursday. Others were determined to go ahead with the event.