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Free ice skating brings students together

By Hensley Carrasco
On April 5, 2011

  • University of Rhode Island students skate on the Boss Ice Arena at the annual “Free Student Skate Night” sponsored by URI Police and Slapshotz at the Boss Ice Arena Sunday night. Jasmine Kim


Students from all areas of the campus came together Sunday night for another year of Student Skate Night at the Brad Boss Ice Arena.

The event, which was started four years ago by Officer Mark Chearino of the University of Rhode Island campus police, is geared toward bringing together students from the university into one location to have a good time with one another. Chearino said the event promotes diversity on the campus because "we have people who come from all walks of life."

Chearino said the event is clean because it is an alcohol-free event.

Sunday's skating event was dedicated to Terry Butler, the former general manager for the Ryan Center and Boss Arena, who died in February. Although the event was free for students, Chearino asked students to bring in $1 to donate for "Pass the Buck, Cops for a Cure," a donation that would go toward the URI Relay for Life.

The event started at 8:30 p.m., but people were allowed to skate beginning at 9 p.m. Chearino said he starts the "lace up" time at 8:30 p.m. so that the people who are going to skate have a chance to talk amongst each other or meet new people. Students who didn't have their own pair of skates were allowed to rent a pair as long as they had their student identification cards. Chearino encouraged students to bring their own pair if they had any to prevent the possibility of people being left without a pair of skates for rental.

Student Skate Night started as a once-a-semester program, but "due to budgetary cuts, we've had to cut it down to only once a year," Chearino said. He added that he's fine with having the event once a year.

In the first years of the skate night, Chearino said, attendance was "astronomical." He said they would have upwards of 375 students all wanting to skate. Lines formed for skate rentals, and students would switch off after every round of skating when the ice resurfacer would go onto the ice and add a thin layer of water, which freezes, in turn smoothening the ice. Attendance, he said, is still good, but it's less than what he's seen in the past. He said 200 people were in attendance this past Sunday.

Senior Ander Schaller, who attended for the first time, said, "I learned how to skate today."

Schaller, a transfer student, said it was a great experience.

"Something like this should happen more often," he said. "I never had anything like this at [my] other college."

Students skated in circles around the arena bettering their current skating skills or learning how to skate. At one point, there was a loud "boom" after one unlucky skater met personally with the rink's wall.

When describing who is involved with organizing the event, Chearino said, "I'm a one-man band."

Chearino doesn't watch students skate the entire time. "I got out about a dozen times, then I'm done," he said.

To help get the word out about the event, Chearino makes flyers and takes the time to bring the them to various locations across campus. He also created a Facebook event in order to help get the word out further.

Chearino thanks the URI Dining Services, Boss Arena, the Office of Student Life, URI police and Slapshotz of the Ryan Center for helping organize and cater the event.

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