kuvia.jpgDespite temperatures in the the teens and a blizzard predicted to blow through town, the annual weeklong winter celebration Kuviasungnerk (pronounced "Koo-vee-ah-sung'-nerk")/Kangeiko began at 6 a.m. with calisthenics in Henry Crown, led by sociology professor emeritus Donald Levine, AB’50, AM’54, PhD’57.

I wasn't on campus to join in on the first scheduled event of Kuvia's 2009 celebration, but Ellie Immerman, '10—whom I met while working for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists—was one of the 384 in attendance. Ellie e-mailed that the first early session was fun: "Kuvia's eminently University of Chicago: taking the coldest week of the year and testing the limits of sleep deprivation and sanity. It's amazing and terrible: a brilliant tradition, yet one to which you resign yourself." Students who participate in all five days of the morning workshop are rewarded with a t-shirt, while the house with the highest participation rate also gets an unnamed prize beyond bragging rights.

Next up is this evening's Dance Marathon Study Break in Hutch Commons. During the dance, Kuvia organizers will collect and count donated scarves as part of a revived knitting competition that first took place 25 years ago, according to Jean Treese, AB'66, associate dean of the College.

countdown.jpgThe rules for entering the knitting competition were simple: knit a scarf 5 feet long by six inches wide using neutral-colored acrylic yarn. Members of the Council on University Programming (COUP) purchased around 90 six-ounce skeins of yarn to give to the first 50 crafty-minded Chicagoans who expressed interest. "We know that a lot of students are very into knitting, so we thought that it would be a good idea," says COUP chair Jane Li, '09, who publicized and distributed the supplies. "We wanted to bring it back last year, but it was too late. We didn't have time to organize everything."

The group with the most submissions wins $50, and the individual who donates the most scarves takes the $25 prize. The real winners, though, are the two South Side shelters who will receive the scarves: the Olive Branch Mission and Morning Glory Temple Shelter of Hope.

To learn more, visit Kuvia's presence on Facebook. To view the schedule and see photos next week, visit the COUP Web site.


Update 10:09 p.m.: Scenes from this morning's calisthenics in Henry Crown






Photos courtesy of Jeffrey Lee, '09.

January 12, 2009