by: PHOTO COURTESY OF REED COLLEGE - The huge snowball came to a hard stop against the wall of an dormitory room on the Reed College campus.After the rare accumulation of snow on Reed’s campus in early February, a few students decided to experiment with how big they could make a snowball. The answer, as it turns out, is pretty big.

Estimates put the frosty sphere at more than 40 inches in diameter and weighing as much as 800 to 900 pounds. In an effort to make it bigger still, the students decided to roll it down the pathway that runs the past the Reed College Apartments.

Cheers of joy quickly turned to utterances of concern, however, as the snowball rolled off the footpath and toward the wall of unit #7. The impact was enough to dislodge the sheetrock on the inside of the dorm room wall, causing about $2,500 worth of damage.

As it turns out, it was the thud heard ’round the world.

A few days after the incident, Reed Magazine editor Chris Lydgate received some photos of the damage, and wrote a story about it. Hours after posting it to the magazine blog, the story was picked-up by the Oregonian. The following day the Associated Press got hold of the story and it just kind of snowballed from there.

Over the next few days, the AP story was posted by more than 512 news outlets nationally and about 116 internationally. The weekend those stories were being posted, Reed’s website was visited by 15,000 more people than on the previous weekend.

No one was injured during the incident, and the responsible students came forward immediately to report the damage. The college reports that they were not disciplined as a result of the accident.

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