It might have been below freezing Saturday night, but that didn’t stop the WRA community from gathering in laughter and light. In a fiery kick off, the WRA dancers performed a flashmob of choreographed dancing in the street to great applause. Performers from “Ohio Burn Unit” drew in the crowd with music and flame, dancing and juggling with fire as onlookers enjoyed hot cocoa, chai-der, spicy fries and more from the Lux Truck. Toes feeling cold? No problem! Students could warm up by the fire pit and build a gooey s’more before posing with a friendly snowman ice sculpture. Many also tried their hand (or feet!) at balancing on the snowboard simulator, despite the machine’s increasing intensity in an effort to launch you off! 

Students danced, cheered for the WRA hockey team during the livestream and were blown away by a striking fireworks display that even drew many Hudson neighbors to campus. Other visitors included prospective families as they explored campus to get a feel for one of our most special weekend activities. 

The night would not have been complete without our extra-spicy competition in the Green Key. Led by Science Chair and Director of Community Outreach & Global Engagement Wanda Boesch (who also happens to be a connoisseur of all things spicy), Boesch challenged H. Arthur Bellow Jr. ’56 Chair and Social Science Faculty Diccon Ong ’81, Associate Director of College Counseling Vanessa Grandison, Frederick Douglass Fellow Iiyannaa Graham-Siphanoum, English Faculty Conor O’Sullivan, Jeffrey Krapf ’23, Sheilla Muligande ’23, Suhaan Yadama ’24 and Caz Badynee ’26 to a series of increasingly spicy chicken wings. To make things extra-interesting, the crowd discouraged the group from drinking milk that taunted them with every bite. Grandison almost threw in the towel, but the entire crew made it to the end (after shedding layers and more than a few tears). 

All in all, Fire & Ice 2023 served as just one more reminder of the warmth of our WRA community. Even in the middle of a Northeast Ohio January.