Students ring in holiday season at inaugural Commuter Carnival

The newly-formed University of Miami Commuter Council invited students to ring in the holiday season with classic carnival games, candy apples and snow cones at its inaugural Commuter Carnival Wednesday, Nov. 17.

Members of the Commuter Council make snow cones for attendees with a variety of different flavors to choose from. The Commuter Carnival featured games, raffles, and live music.
Members of the Commuter Council committee making snow cones for attendees with a variety of different flavors to choose from. The Commuter Carnival took place at Lakeside Patio from 6 to 9.p.m on Nov. 17 and featured games, raffles and live music.

The event served as the council’s first foray into event planning since its formation under the Department of Orientation and Commuter Student Involvement (OCSI).

Students competed in games including tin can alley and balloon darts, while others took advantage of the photo booth and indulged in candy apples and cotton candy. Attendees at the carnival could win various prizes by playing games or entering a raffle.

Candy apples and cotton candy along with many other prizes were offered to students at the Commuter Carnival at UM's Lakeside Patio. The Commuter Council hosted the event from 6 to 9 p.m. on Nov. 17 and invited all members of the student body to attend.
Candy apples and cotton candy along with many other prizes were offered to students at the Commuter Carnival at UM's Lakeside Patio. The Commuter Council hosted the event from 6 to 9 p.m. on Nov. 17 and invited all members of the student body to attend. Photo credit: Dan Snitzer

The event featured collaborations with other on-campus organizations: Patio Jams, a concert series organized by Hurricane Productions, welcomed a jazz band that played covers of popular songs throughout the night.

Representatives from UM’s study-abroad office and the Toppel Career Center were among those given booths to advertise their services to commuter students. Some students interested in studying abroad were invited to stick pins onto a world map and receive information about the programs available in the country they chose at random.

Onelia Mendive, a freshman majoring in criminology and sociology and a member of both the Commuter Council and UM’s study-abroad organization, says that the world-map game was especially popular.

“The lines have been really long, and people seem really invested and interested in what we have to say,” Mendive said.

The carnival was held to provide commuter students with an opportunity to participate in on-campus events that they often miss out on, says Reem Alreesh, an OCSI transfer assistant and junior at UM double majoring in marine science and biology.

Students pose with props for a photo at the carnival’s photo booth on Wednesday, Nov. 17. The station had an assortment of costumes and filters students could choose from.
Students pose with props for a photo at the carnival’s photo booth on Wednesday, Nov. 17. The station had an assortment of costumes and filters students could choose from. Photo credit: Dan Snitzer

“You don’t see commuter students a lot. We wanted to say, ‘Hey, this is for you, you’re not left out, come join,’” Alreesh said.

Leaders of the Commuter Council say the event was a success, especially considering that the Commuter Carnival marks the council’s first in-person organizational undertaking since its inception in August of this year.

“It’s exceeding the number of people that we expected to come; the turnout has been really great,” said Lynette Perez, a Commuter Council member and senior majoring in microbiology and immunology.

According to Perez and other council members, the event’s success demonstrated the student-run council’s event-planning capabilities and has inspired confidence for similar events in the future.

“They went through the entire planning process to create this event tonight,” said Zachary Danney, a council member and senior majoring in human resource management.

Perez says that she and her fellow council members have learned valuable organizational-planning skills from the carnival that they can use for other commuter-focused events in the future.

“We definitely learned a lot about the time commitment and the effort it takes to plan events, especially when communicating with other organizations,” Perez said. “It takes a lot of communication, a lot of time, a lot of planning, and we definitely have improved a lot since we started in August.”