Campus gets into festive spirit

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Week Nine of the Michaelmas Term will see the square being transformed into a winter wonderland, as Winterfest 2009 hits Lancaster University. The three-day event will include an ice-rink, Christmas market stalls and a stage with entertainment from various University societies.

The first day will see stalls selling mulled wine, cocoa, Christmas cakes and other festive treats, with ice skating going on from 12-6pm at just £3 a session.On Thursday, Christmas stalls will be added, including some run by Voltage, a business project organised by Lancaster University Volunteering Unit (LUVU) involving local sixth forms. Gift stalls will be added on Friday, with local traders selling jewellery, cards and decorations, as well as much more.

To accompany this, there will be Christmas music and a Bailrigg FM broadcast coming live from the Square, as well as the stage being filled by various performances from societies. The debating society will be discussing whether Santa Claus is real, ULMS Big Band and Brass Band will be playing, and the Theatre group may make an appearance with a Christmas Pantomime.

A 20ft Christmas tree will be the centerpiece of the celebration that starts on Wednesday Week Nine, with a snow machine built by the Engineering Society adding to the lights and garlands to give a festive feel to Alexandra Square.

Both the Lancaster University Alumni Friends Programme and UPP, the company responsible for most of the building work across campus, have funded the huge event. Together they have raised a huge amount for this and several other events over the rest of the term.

The Friends Programme relies on donations from the Alumni, as well as parents of current students to help raise money for such events as this. They get around 1300 donors a year, mostly via telephone fundraising employing current students. Since the start of the program in 2001, over £600,000 has been raised and over 140 programs have started from the funding.

Rachel Newbury explained why the Friends Programme is so excited about this years events: “It’s a fantastic initiative and we are hoping that, as well as appealing to students, many alumni will want to return to the University to see how much things have changed and to remember the good times.”

LUVU is also playing a large part in the project. Ben Matthews, director of LUVU said, “It is part of LUSU’s strategic plan to help students gain new skills and event management experience. Each of the events will see a team of students getting involved with the design, development and delivery. The team will include elected officers, but also students who want to gain new skills.”

Similar events that will be happening later in the year include a Societies Extravaganza happening in the Lent Term, and a Roses event that will happen when the sports competition returns in the Summer Term.

The Societies Extrav is still in the early stages of planning, but it is hoped that as many societies as possible will be getting involved and showcasing what they do. There are over 100 societies on campus, and this is their chance to show off the great things that they do to the rest of the University.

As well as that, it is the aim of LUSU to make Roses the biggest it has ever been this year, thanks to the funding that is coming from UPP and the Friends Programme. There will be evening events as well as LUTube.TV broadcasting the competition across the campus.

LUVU will also be joining in, with a Charity Fun Run, as well as a giant It’s a Knockout obstacle course that they’re hoping will get students, staff and the local community all involved.

If you want to be involved with any of this year’s events, contact Martin Ennis: [email]m.ennis@lancaster.ac.uk[/email].

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