Amid the numerous construction projects in progress on campus, a unique building plan is taking shape in the middle of the Green. What is now an amorphous pile of snow sitting in the center of campus will soon become the snow sculpture for this year's Winter Carnival, entitled "Stupendous Games 2006: Mischief in the Snow."
The sculpture will depict cartoon characters Calvin and Hobbes bobsledding down a large, slanted "D". A snow version of the Olympic torch will serve as the spine of the "D," and the inside of the sculpture will honor past and present Olympic athletes.
The design of the structure is more complicated this year than in the past, chair of the snow sculpture committee Dan Schneider '07 said. The committee includes a studio art major and a number of engineers.
Bill Waterson, author of the now-retired comic strip "Calvin and Hobbes," is notorious for refusing to grant outsiders the right to use his comic creation, but the sculpture's plan was approved because it is a temporary work of art.
Sculpture-builders will erect the structure around a wooden base, which is currently sitting conspicuously on the Green. The base, constructed by Eric Klem '08 and five other students this past weekend, will be removed at the completion of the sculpture to make the opening in the center of the "D".
"We start with the wooden structural elements, and then we build up the snow in layers of four feet, hose down the snow, remove the plywood panels, and add another layer," Schneider said. "Then we start carving it down."
Constructing the 24-foot-high sculpture will require roughly 7,000 trash cans of snow and will take about 12 days.
The sculpture committee expects the help of 100 to 200 people, including varsity athletic teams and Dartmouth Outing Club groups.
Although the snow on the green was trampled by the most recent school-wide snowball fight, new snow has already been shipped in from the Scully-Fahey lacrosse field. The committee can also get ice and snow shavings from the local Campion skating rink and Thompson Arena, if the Green can not provide enough snow.
Although the sculpture is made of snow and ice, it will not be a static structure, Schneider promised.
"Last year we had a pirate ship with exploding cannons," Schneider said. "If you missed the opening ceremonies last year, you won't want to miss it this year, because it will be just as cool."
The opening ceremonies will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 9 on the Green.
As the 96th annual Winter Carnival approaches, the Dartmouth community eagerly awaits the completion of the Carnival's unfinished centerpiece, the snow sculpture.
The sculpture, which students worked on through the night Wednesday, will depict comic book characters Calvin and Hobbes sledding down a giant "D" adorned with an Olympic torch. The torch commemorates past and present Dartmouth students competing in this winter's Olympic games, sculpture builders said. Among the Dartmouth Olympians competing are Kaylin Richardson, who deferred her acceptance in the class of 2009 to train, Scott Macartney '01, and Libby Ludlow '06, all members of the United States alpine ski team.
The Opening Ceremony for the four day celebration that will feature different events and activities will take play on the Green at 7 p.m. Thursday night.
College President James Wright will be joined by various student organizers to unveil the snow sculpture, which has been a cause for concern to many on campus because of the unseasonably warm weather.
"We haven't had a good turnout of volunteers this year between the lack of snow and this weather. A lot of students haven't wanted to get involved," Chris Polashenski '07 said.
Despite the poor showing and poor response to posters asking for assistance in building the structure, a small group of students have volunteered to finish the snow sculpture.
"It's my birthday today and this seems more fun than studying for my midterm tomorrow, so I want to be a part of Winter Carnival and work with all these cool people," David Nutt '09 said.
Sculpture organizers sent a blitz to the campus Wednesday night in search of help, and even promised pizza from Everything But Anchovies to all volunteers.
"I have relatively little work tonight so I felt that if I didn't help, Winter Carnival may not turn out the way I hoped," Zack Zehner '09 said.
This year's sculpture is not the first that required students to work through the night. Some volunteers recalled that the 2004 sculpture depicting Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat required an all-nighter as well.
"We'll finish this by seven in the morning, working straight just like we did last year and then we will head to Lou's for breakfast," Polashenski said. "It's a tradition."
Calvin and Hobbes. Two characters who, according to copyright law, have absolutely nothing to do with our Winter Carnival, always had plenty of snow. Dartmouth isn't so lucky this year. On a Carnival weekend sunny enough for beach clothes, the Green is muddy and the skies are dry. So how do we make the most of our winter weekend? How do we build snowmen or have snowball fights?
Take a lesson from Calvin: Get outside and use your imagination.
And don't forget ? there are plenty of adventures still to be had. Grab your ice skates or your bathing suit and head down to Occom Pond, put away your textbooks and figure out how to ski, gather everyone you know on the Green for some winter football. You can even bring your imaginary friends. We won't tell.
Murmurs about a Calvin and Hobbes theme for Winter Carnival that have been heard around campus for weeks are technically unfounded: the 2006 theme for Dartmouth's blowout winter weekend is "Stupendous Games: Mischief in the Snow" -- a deliberate move by the carnival committee to skirt copyright laws.
Cartoonist Bill Watterson does not license the rights for his two characters because he feels that using the characters in marketing strategies violates the spirit that they represent, according to the website of Watterson's publisher, Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC.
After the College's legal office told the carnival committee that it may run into legal problems by using the Calvin and Hobbes characters, the group looked into the copyright laws, according to carnival co-chair Megan Paradise '08.
The committee was able to confirm that the College's legal office was correct and adjusted the theme right away, said committee member Jonathan Kling '04.
Andrews McMeel, however, was not contacted by the College, according to Rebecca Schuler, publicity director at Andrews McMeel. She added that even if Dartmouth had contacted the company, there was only a minute possibility that they would have received any rights.
"As a company, we do not hold the rights to license Mr. Watterson's artwork. Mr. Watterson retains his rights and, to my knowledge, does not license them for any type of promotion or event," she said.
Kling said the committee saw it as unnecessary to contact Watterson or the publisher once the theme was altered to "Stupendous Games."
"We made no official inquiry because the theme of Carnival did not require it," he said.
By not using the Calvin and Hobbes figures, the committee successfully skirted copyright laws, something that has been done in previous years as well, Paradise said. She pointed out that the names of Peter Pan and Tinkerbell were not used during last year's Neverland theme for similar copyright reasons.
However, Paradise did admit that copyright problems "might be more in the forefront this year" compared to past Winter Carnivals.
This year, instead of using the Watterson's drawings, the committee used "imagery of kids having snowball fights, deranged snowmen, and other activities in the form of Calvin and Hobbes style and font," MacFayden said.
After reviewing the copyright law again, the committee did decide, however, that using the images on the snow sculpture would be acceptable, Paradise said.
The Winter Carnival Committee gathered during Fall term to decide on the theme, the first step in a long process of Carnival planning. The committee took theme suggestions from the student body and then asked for Carnival titles via BlitzMail, MacFayden said.
Many students believed that the theme of the carnival was Calvin and Hobbes.
"I never knew that the theme was not Calvin and Hobbes," Amanda Lobel '09 said.
The committee chose this year's theme with the Winter Olympics and the Carnival's history in mind. The Carnival originally started when the varsity ski races, the largest in the Northeast, were held and eventually became associated with the Olympics due to Dartmouth's large amount of Olympians, MacFayden said. She explained that this year's theme "captured [the] fun, playful, mischievous spirit of Calvin and Hobbes" while also keeping the Olympics involved by including the words "Stupendous Games" in the title. The sculpture also features the characters racing in a bobsled, another reminder of the Olympics.
"All great themes have been done in the past in some way so it's difficult to come up with new themes," MacFayden said.