Students celebrate blizzard with snowball fight in Centennial Common

Erin Fine, news correspondent

Over 100 Northeastern students gathered on Centennial Common Sunday to celebrate the heavy snowfall with a large-scale snowball fight. After a blizzard dumped almost two feet of snow in Boston Saturday, students had plenty of snow to throw.

What started out as a loose gathering of friend groups quickly turned into an all-out battle as two sides formed, protected by makeshift forts of chairs and snow. Leaders called out directions to grab more snow. Most students held their positions, but daring fighters leapt into the middle of the battle to launch snow at their peers on the other side.

“We decided we were gonna have a north-south war and we started making forts,” first-year data science and economics combined major Mayukha Bhamidipati said.

Amid the laughter, students took the snowball fight seriously.

“I’m down! Medic!” cried one student behind a barrier. Their compatriots quickly took their place, avenging them with snowballs.

The students were attracted by a Reddit post on the r/NEU subreddit simply titled, “Snowball fight. Centennial. Sunday at noon. Be there or be square.” The poster was Jack Ognibene, a second-year psychology major also known as u/MirrorFellow.

“Mainly [the idea] came from the other night because it had snowed a little bit sometime last week,” Ognibene said. “I had been having a small snowball fight with my friend and I thought ‘wow, this is so much more fun than I remember it being.’”

About 150 to 200 students came to the fight by Ognibene’s estimate. Those numbers turned the Common into an organized battle effort.

“On my side, every 10 minutes or so someone would scream ‘charge up a shot!’ and would count down from three, and everyone would throw,” Ognibene said.

Students were excited to gather for Boston’s first blizzard in four years, feeling like a college community again.

“It’s fun to see everyone in the same spot again,” said Nathan Cideciyan, a first-year international affairs major. “I wanted to take advantage of the big snow because you never know when the next one is going to be here.”

While the battle raged on in the center of the commons, dozens of onlookers gathered to watch. Other students buried their friends in the snow and made snowmen. Exhausted fighters took to the edge of Centennial for a break. 

“I thought it was a really great way for the university to get together and take advantage of the blizzard,” Bhamidipati said.

While students made memories, Ognibene also said the snowball fight was an important community event for the university.

“It seemed like a fun community event — who doesn’t wanna go fight in a large-scale snowball fight?” Ognibene said. “Community events bring in a lot of people from everywhere. With the pandemic there haven’t been many community events … I feel like it’s important, going out there and being with other Northeastern students.”

Although the date of the next snowball fight is weather permitting, Ognibene plans on holding another.

“My friends all say that I should try to start another one up next time it snows or next year, after the first snowfall of the spring semester,” Ognibene said.

Jack Ognibene created a public shared Google Drive folder for students to upload photos and videos of the snowball fight, which can be accessed here.