An estimated 400 students took part in Tuesday's snow battle (photo by Michael Mousa)

Epic snowball fight takes over front campus

@CassandraMilena: "Step 1: plot an attack. Step 2: get hit. Step 3: take a selfie."

On February 2, 2015 U of T students braved more than 20 cm of snow and high winds on the way to class. 

By 12:30 that afternoon, undergraduate students Madina Siddiqui and Frishta Bastan had decided that there was only one way they could enjoy the weather and beat stress at the same time: a campus-wide snowball fight.

“What we wanted was for everyone to feel like a kid again, to forget thinking about the future, grades and GPAs,” said Siddiqui. “It was a good way to get rid of all the stress and just act like carefree kids.”

The pair of friends – so close that they consider each other sisters – had never planned an event together before this week. Bastan, a fourth-year student, has event planning experience from her involvement with the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU), the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) and the Afghan Students’ Association, but this was a first-time effort from Siddiqui, a first-year student who plans to major in politics and history. 

Bastan called Grayce Slobodian, vice-president external of the UTSU, on Monday night to see if the union wanted to get involved. “They were on board right away,” said Bastan. The UTSU offered to provide free hot chocolate to everyone at the event. “It was a huge help, and we thank them for participating.”

Their good idea spread fast; after putting together a Facebook event, inviting their friends and posting in Facebook groups, word reached more 2,500 students. 

“It got bigger and bigger and it just snowballed out of control. Pun intended!” said Siddiqui. Bastan estimated that over 250 people showed up to enjoy the snow and a warm drink.

They asked participants to document their experience with the hashtag #UofTSnowBattle, and their tweets and photos show just how much fun the spontaneous community of snow warriors had. Check out the selection of tweets and Instagram posts on the #UofTSnowBattle Storify embedded below.

“The students I talked to were really happy it happened, since it's midterm season and everyone needed to de-stress,” said Bastan.

The event connected students from all three campuses, and the organizers even met a few from schools such as York and George Brown. The media noticed, too – the event was featured on outlets like The Globe & Mail, CP24 and CTV News, which brought a helicopter to take on overhead shot. (See the Globe and Mail photo gallery.)

The most common reaction to the event, said Bastan, was an excited “when’s the next one?!?” 

They plan to make the snowball fight an annual event.

Elena Gritzan graduated from the University of Toronto in 2014. She works with the Office of Student Life at U of T and compiled the Storify highlights below.


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