A host of kids and students gathered in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Ballroom Monday night for the University Board’s Special Events’ Winter Pantherland event.
This event featured free cookies, hot chocolate and a skating rink made of solid polymer tiles.
Aaliyah Stephen, the UB Special Events coordinator, said she got the idea from last year’s indoor roller skating event and wanted to give the campus something new before the semester’s end.
Stephen said when she was first hired she wanted to do the event.
“I wanted to do something different. Eastern hasn’t seen an iceless skating rink and, originally, it was supposed to be held at the campus pond, but it just wasn’t going to work out,“ Stephen said. “So I just decided to go a different route and bring in an iceless skating rink, since the union doesn’t allow ice on their floor.”
Stephen reached out to Record-A-Hit Entertainment, who offers services that include carnival games, inflatables, novelties, rides and an iceless skating rink.
In addition to the iceless rink, they provided metal plated ice skates, benches, a tarp for floor protection and music.
“I searched for companies who do iceless skating rinks and I found Record-A-Hit and they offer a nice price for what they offer. They also came and did the set up of the rink,” Stephen said.
With this being the last event for the University Board this semester, Stephen gave insight on what to expect next semester.
Stephen said she plans on continuing the video game event, which she debuted last semester. She said it attracted a big crowd and a lot of students; she also said she wants to introduce new events to the campus, including a paintball event and teddy bear decorating.
“I just want to do bigger and better things and continue to bring things to EIU that hasn’t been done before,” Stephen said.
Rachael Willis, a senior biology major, was volunteering with the PLAY program, Step Up Dancers.
Willis, along with other volunteers, were supervising the children while they were ice-skating.
They were preparing for a Christmas performance in the 7th Street Underground, when one of the volunteers mentioned an iceless skating rink upstairs.
“We brought about 15 to 20 children to the event and when they heard about an iceless skating rink, they all ran to their parents in excitement, asking to go ice skate,” Willis said. “So we collectively decided to go to the University Ballroom and enjoy some free ice skating.”
Shadezja Garrett can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]