*Polar Bear Run at UChicago during the winter Kuvia Festival in 2010*
**By Lynda Lopez, First Year, University of Chicago**
Today, I received a free shirt.
Like any normal person, I love getting free shirts.
However, this is not an ordinary free shirt. This is a shirt that caused me major sleep deprivation. For five consecutive days, I woke up at 5:30 in the morning in order to obtain this free shirt.
You're probably thinking that I am a bit on the crazy side. Allow me to explain. Kuviasungnerk/Kangeiko has been a University of Chicago tradition since January 1983, when former Dean of the College Dean Levine introduced the festival to the university. Kuviasungnerk means "happy times" and Kangeiko supposedly means "weight training." Now in its 28th year, this week-long event brings out the wild side of UChicago.
During this special week, hundreds of students, faculty, and members of the university community meet at the Henry Crown Field House at UChicago for calisthenics and warm-ups at 6 o'clock in the morning. After the exercises, students pick a dance workshop to attend. This year's dances included flamenco and break-dancing, just to name a few. By 7:30 in the morning, students have already exercised and learned a dance routine. Talk about productivity.
The major incentive driving many of the students attending the festival is the free shirt that awaits them if they wake up for the exercises every morning. It is symbol for the week of hard work and dedication, so it tends to be a huge deal for students.
Aside from the exercises, other Kuvia traditions include the widely discussed Polar Bear Run (see video above). During the final day of Kuvia each year, students run through the snow-covered quads around 3:30 in the afternoon. Here's the catch. ***They can wear as little as they want.*** Some students run completely naked with perhaps a hat on their heads.
Next year, I expect to do Kuvia again. I had such an amazing time this year. Who knows? Maybe I'll even do the Polar Bear Run.
*Photo Credit: coup.uchicago.edu*