Library staff had so much fun with the Retro Photo Booth at this year’s Helen C. House Party that we went back in time to create an extra-special week of finals events at College Library. Although no DeLorean was on hand to whisk us away from finals stress or Huey Lewis to serenade us about the “Power of Love,” there were plenty of other events to help students #studystrong. Together with campus partners, College Library tried to bring a little fun into an otherwise anxiety-filled week of exams.
Beginning on Thursday, December 12, we encouraged library visitors to reclaim their childhood and go “Back to Square One.” Students enjoyed old-school games (Clue, Sorry, and Twister), toys (Pick-up Sticks, Slinkys), and coloring pages in the library. It was also the final day of online voting for our Retro Photo Contest. [The most “liked” photo from every retro Facebook album advanced to the next round.]
Students celebrated the last day of classes with “Caffeine-fueled Time Travel” from Open Book Café on Friday, December 13. Free regular coffee, tea or hot chocolate, courtesy of the Wisconsin Union, were available from 7pm to 2am. Also, voting began that day on the final six images in our “Back to Finals – Retro Photo Contest.” The winning image will join the display of campus images on the library’s 3rd floor.
The theme continued with “Back to the Books” from noon until midnight on Saturday, December 14, when GUTS tutors were available on study day to help with last-minute tutoring needs. They had free coffee and treats for those receiving assistance, sponsored by ASM and the Division of Student Life. Sunday, December 15, brought us “Back to the Bucky” where students had the opportunity to dress “Flat Bucky” in their favorite outfit – from band uniform to tuxedo – and then snap a photo with the stylish mascot. We encouraged participants to post their selfies +1 to Instagram using the hashtag #studystrong. Thanks to the Wisconsin Alumni Association for the two-dimensional mascot and his extensive wardrobe. Of course, no finals week is complete without a visit from the three-dimensional Bucky. He stopped by on Sunday evening to bring a little cheer to those hunkered down for the duration.
On Monday, December 16, we celebrated “Back to Beagles (and more)” with a library visit from the therapy canines of Dogs on Call. Students could re-connect with the childhood joy of playing with puppies and have come to rely on this study break. A number asked for details in advance, such as Jaimie Krueger’s tweet “WHEN ARE THE DOGS GONNA BE HERE?” and hollyanne326 pondering “The therapy dogs event is called Back to Beagles – will actual beagles be there? Because they are the best dogs ever!” We were able to reassure her that Button the Beagle would be on hand. On the actual day, tweets like this one from nicoleproblems helped build anticipation, “DOG DAY at @college_library !! too excited to focus #uhoh.”
Dean Berquam once again showed her generosity by sending pizzas to students that evening. 100elle noted, “.@college_library is surprising us with free pizza. Suddenly this place doesn’t feel like the place where dreams come to die. #finals” “Back to Buttons” with College Library’s button-maker was the highlight of Tuesday, December 17. Students could make their own design or use one of our retro images. And, the finals events closed out on Wednesday, December 18, with “Back to Basics” – free candy at the library’s service desks because sometimes simple things are the most timeless. Of course getting a shout-out from Chancellor Blank sealed it as one of the best finals ever when she tweeted, “Need a little boost to help you #studystrong? @college_library is handing out free candy today. Good luck on all those finals!” This sentiment was confirmed by Lea Ratzmann who took the time to let us know “We met under stressful circumstances – me studying for ochem – but I just wanted to thank you for always being there <3.” It is our good fortune to serve the undergraduates of the University of Wisconsin!
The library appreciates the assistance from many campus partners in offering a variety of activities and give-aways during the end of the semester, including the Wisconsin Union (Open Book free coffee), ASM and the Division of Student Life (GUTS Study Day), the Athletic Department (visit from Bucky Badger), Dogs on Call (therapy dogs), the University Archives (retro photos) and the Library Director Carrie Kruse (candy). College Library could not do it without their support.