Each winter quarter, second week is known for one thing: Kuviasungnerk/Kangeiko. Derived from the Inuit word for “happiness” and the Japanese word for “winter training,” the week-long winter festival is most commonly referred to as “Kuvia.”
A campus tradition since 1983, Kuvia is put on for students by the Council on University Programming (COUP). Students participate in morning stretches and workshops, and are treated to bagels and juice afterward— all before 8 a.m. Those who wake up for all five days of Kuvia get a t-shirt, a campus-honored emblem of the rigor and dedication it takes to participate.
“Kuvia is a testament to the question of how far college students will go for a free t-shirt and a lifetime of glory,” said Tiffany Yooj Kim, president of COUP.
As they do every year, participants arrived at the Henry Crown Field House at 6 a.m. each day for opening stretches — called sun salutations — led by UChicago faculty and staff. As is tradition, the last sun salutations took place at Promontory Point on Friday, where participants watched the sunrise and were greeted by the Kuvia polar bear and John W. Boyer, dean of the College.
“There's something comforting about waking up at the crack of dawn with hundreds of other sleepy glory-seekers and greeting the sun,” said Kim.