Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Swan song after 4 years in Madison

My first evening in Madison is a night I will not soon forget.

After all the bags had been unpacked and introductions made, after the mass exodus of parents and after enduring a painful 45-minute lecture on the dangers of alcohol, it was time to party.

So I bravely ventured away from the safety of the dorm and into a strange new world, accompanied only by my roommates, a sense of excitement and the other 45 kids I had met earlier in the afternoon. And of course, we became hopelessly lost less than two blocks from our dorm. The conversation, as I remember, went a little something like this:


"My roommate knows a guy whose brother is having a party on Dayton Street."

"Where's Dayton Street?"

"Beats me."

"Whoa! Is that a three-story beer bong?"

"No way. That's way too much beer to have all at once. Nobody's gonna drink out on the street like that. The cops'll bust 'em."

Little did we know at the time that student drinking in public is as much a part of the university as studying. However, as I would later come to realize, there is always bad that goes along with the good; for every little action, there's a reaction.

The reaction to students drinking on campus comes to us via the alcohol Gestapo, better known to students as PACE, a killjoy organization that clearly was the brainchild of Ebenezer Scrooge before that fateful Christmas Eve.

However prominent booze is on this campus, it is not the only aspect of the university that makes it such a wonderful place to spend four years.

Students from all across the nation converge in Madison every fall, and with them they bring their own habits and way of life. I was the first Jew my newly acquired Filipino friend from Clintonville, Wis., had ever met. And he showed me there is at least one minority from northern Wisconsin.

Or sometimes the culture clashes can simply lead to hours of laughter. My roommates freshmen year were all from either New York or Boston, and not one of them knew that Wisconsin was in fact east of the Mississippi River.

Sadly, this casual jabbing is not confined to conversations between friends. It is all too common of an occurrence to hear a Wisconsinite maliciously use the word "coastie" or listen to a New Yorker describe the kid from Oconomowoc as a brain-dead hick. On my way to class last week, I became an unwilling participant in the classic struggle between Wisconsin and the East Coast when I was on the receiving end of a "JAP! Go back to Bahstan!" comment.

Which is actually quite funny because I'm from Chicago. And in the interest of avoiding an ugly confrontation with my roommate who is actually from the city, I'm from a suburb of Chicago. And not even the North Shore. I grew up in Naperville, where there are almost as many Jews as Civil War veterans.

Shrugging off the misguided insult, I kept on truckin' to my political science class on top of Bascom Hill. The political science department is another contributing factor to the sheer awesomeness of UW — just ask any of the 20,000 majors.

However, not all is well in the department. Political science classes are held all over campus and are all too commonly located in Agriculture 125, the largest lecture hall on campus.

This room — where winged bats seemingly outnumber chairs — was most likely the driving force behind Audrey Seiler's slow descent to madness and almost certainly was designed by the anti-Christ. And if the religicos on Library Mall are correct and I am heading toward hell, I will find myself in Ag 125 with Beelzebub breathing fire down my neck.

Finally, a tradition that brings UW students to the brink of hell is the all-nighter. Cracking open one of three 200-page books the evening before the exam is a quintessential part of college life. And if you're smart about it and drink can after can of Red Bull, it becomes a very plausible task.

However, the problem with pulling an all-nighter does not present itself until the following afternoon. With your brain sufficiently turned to mush after staying awake for 36 hours, you interrupt your professor in the middle of discussion on press freedoms during WWI to tell him about a town you visited with your roommate called Metropolis, Ill.

There is no relation between this southern Illinois wacko town and the media, but you deemed it necessary to tell tales of a 25-foot statue of Superman that stands in front of the courthouse. After you wrap up your zeal by mentioning the address of the courthouse is 1 Superman Way, you realize the professor is staring at you, trying to decide exactly when you developed an addiction to psychedelic mushrooms.

And as you leave class only to come upon a group of crazed religious protesters, you can't help but think how much you'll miss everything in two short weeks.

Well, almost everything.

Rob Hunger ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in journalism and political science.

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