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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin issues school-wide snowman-building contest

Loftin announced the competition on Twitter and Facebook on Feb. 4.

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Sophomore Mackenzie Mertens (right) works with Alex Deck (far left) and Andrew Countryman (close left) to build a snow man on The Francis Quadrangle in Columbia, MO on Tuesday, Feb. 4. MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin announced a snow sculpting contest via social media which enticed students to create snow sculptures which contained bow ties.

Mike Krebs/Senior Staff Photographer

Feb. 12, 2014

When a fresh coat of snow covered campus Feb. 4 and 5, students were not the only ones celebrating the two days of school cancellations.

Newly appointed Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin wished students a happy snow day and announced a competition to build a snowman wearing his favorite accessory: a bow tie. Participants could enter their creations by tweeting a picture with the hashtag #snowbowtieger for the chancellor’s wife, Karin Loftin, to judge.

The winner or winners would get to have lunch with the chancellor. Thus students got to work building their snowmen, remembering to give them bow ties reminiscent of the chancellor’s.

Freshman Valerie Hellinghausen was one of the participants.

“We started making a giant mountain, and it looked like a volcano until we scraped out the sides to shape our snowman,” Hellinghausen said of the snowman-making process. “One of my friends had a bow tie that we used, and he sacrificed his hat even though it was really cold.”

A native Texan, Hellinghausen said building the snowman was an enjoyable activity she had never experienced before.

“Being from the South, a lot of us didn’t know what we were supposed to do with snow or how (to) make a snowman,” Hellinghausen said. “It was just kind of a fun experience.”

Freshmen Taylor Shelton and Ryan Schultz also tweeted out a picture of their snowman, whom they gave a bow tie made of pine needles.

“That was our only real defining factor to make it look like him,” Shelton said. “But we did get some Mizzou stuff and put it on the snowman.”

Loftin announced the winners Feb. 6, tweeting out that “#SnowPrincess has spoken!” with a picture of sophomores Elise Henn, Mackenzie Schranck, Claire Custer and Sami Kurkowski with their #snowbowtieger.

The group members said they were thrilled to hear the news.

“I was at work and my phone just blew up,” Schranck said. “They were all in this group message talking about how we won. It was really exciting.”

Kurkowski said the process of making the soft snow hard enough to build the winning entry was a challenge.

“The snow was really bad for making snowmen, so we ended up taking milk jugs out and filling them with water and dumping water on the snow and rolling the snow up,” Kurkowski said. “It took a long time.”

Henn said the group got creative with accessorizing the snow chancellor.

“We added sticks for arm, and I had this mustache from (an event) last year,” she said. “We gave him Harry Potter glasses for the eyes, and a Mizzou hat and a pompom from the Cotton Bowl.”

Henn said she hopes to find out the secret to Loftin’s attentive tweeting during the lunch she and the rest of her group will soon have with him.

“I think it’d be interesting to see how he has the time to manage Twitter,” Henn said. “I feel like he’s always able to tweet and reply to students.”

The chancellor’s contest incited reactions from students across campus.

“I think it really shows that Chancellor Loftin really wants to connect with the students and show that he wants to meet the students and be involved,” freshman Drake Meyer said.

Schultz said the contest signified how accessible the chancellor is, as well as how he makes an effort to know the student body.

“I think everyone’s really attracted to his friendly disposition,” Schultz said. “And I think this competition is a good way to meet the students.”

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