Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald



Fresh powder flies as Southeast and Lakeshore collide during the notorious snowball fight on Bascom Hill Wednesday afternoon. Chancellor Biddy Martin was among those who watched the event.

After the National Weather Service issued a Civil Danger Warning and Governor Scott Walker declared a snow emergency in anticipation of the blizzard, few city and campus residents were untouched by the effects of the winter storm.

Madison received nearly 12 inches of snow between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, forcing the cancellation of city non-essential services, Madison Metro routes and University of Wisconsin classes on Wednesday.

Though 175 snow removal vehicles began clearing the streets early on Tuesday night, emergency services responded to an elevated number of carbon monoxide leaks in Madison residences, Lori Wirth, Madison Fire Department spokesperson, said.


At the city level, Mayor Dave Cieslewicz issued an order Tuesday evening to close all city offices, and city parks and libraries.

Dane County officials also advised residents not to travel in the wake of a blizzard warning.

Dane County Department of Emergency Management spokesperson John McLellan said the blizzard lead to more than 100 emergency calls for stranded cars, some of which could not be reached until late Wednesday morning.

He added road conditions made it difficult for emergency vehicles to respond to calls, particularly for Madison city fire trucks.

Walker called on the Wisconsin National Guard to assist in rescuing citizens who were trapped in a stranded bus and to assist motorists trapped in snowdrifts on the Interstate.

He also declared a state of emergency for 29 counties and ordered the closing all state buildings to the public for Wednesday. Despite the weather conditions, Assembly and Senate hearings were held as scheduled.

UW System Board of Regents President Charles Pruitt said because the storm was not as intense in some parts of northern Wisconsin, the decision to cancel classes would be left to the individual chancellors.

To the great relief of many Badgers, UW Chancellor Biddy Martin was one of the chancellors to cancel classes. 

Students on the UW campus found reason to celebrate the closure of the university with the second massive “Battle for Bascom” snowball fight, where Lakeshore once again reigned victorious.

The hill was crowded with thousands of students wielding cafeteria trays, makeshift slingshots and the battle cry of vuvuzelas during the brawl between Southeast and Lakeshore dormitory residents in celebration of the snow day.

Though the fight was slated to begin at 1:30 p.m., participants said the brawl began with the first charge by Southeast residents shortly after 1 p.m.

Martin also turned out to see the historic snowball fight, lending her support for a safe and fun celebration of a day free from classes from a healthy distance near the statue of Abraham Lincoln.

UW freshman Justin Michuad, one of the creators of the “Battle for Bascom” Facebook event, said he knew there would be another snowball fight after the snow day was officially announced.

He said it was exciting to see the numbers of attendees grow quickly as word continued to spread and the event grew larger than he had imagined. The event garnered 4,920 positive responses on Facebook.

“We kept refreshing the page and saw more people were planning on attending,” he said. “After banking on a snow day, we wanted to get the word out.”

Michuad said he was in the front lines of the battle for most of the fight and was impressed by how prepared both Lakeshore and Southeast residents came to the event.

While some students preferred to observe the fray from the sidewalks running parallel to the hill, others preferred more flamboyant involvement in the snowy melee – braving the cold in bikini swimsuits, a banana costume and Badger gear galore.

Participants also came equipped with a multitude of innovative devices to enhance the battle.

Though cafeteria trays used as body armor or sleds are a mainstay for winter on the UW campus, snowball guns, pizza boxes and slingshots were employed to make sure no one left Bascom untouched by a dusting of snow.

Evan Porter, a UW sophomore, said Lakeshore residents seemed to arrive at the snowball fight with an edge because Southeast tends to arrive late.

“Lakeshore is just unafraid, they always start by taking the top,” he said. “People’s craziness just adds to the excitement and gets people more into the fight.”

He also said the recent snowfall did not allow for optimal packing conditions to make snowballs but there was also fewer icy projectiles, a leading factor in many bloody noses and other minor casualties.

UW sophomore Matt Krentz said though the “Battle for Bascom” may have begun as an evenly matched fight, the Lakeshore residents forced Southeast participants off the hill shortly before 3 p.m.

The winning neighborhood showcased their Badger pride with a celebratory round of “Varsity” at the top of the hill.

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