Since College Library unveiled its Twitter hashtag – #studystrong – in the fall of 2009, hundreds of students have adopted the phrase, using it (and 140 characters or less) to reveal their state-of-mind during final exams at the University of Wisconsin. On May 11th, for example, Caissa Caserez tweeted, “Another item was officially crossed off of my @UWMadison bucket list as I saw the sunrise at @college_library this morning. 🙂 #studystrong. While the hashtag facilitates the ability of like-minded students to find and commiserate with one another, the sense of community fostered online has its counterpart in the real world through the many finals events offered by College Library.
The spring semester finals theme was “Show us what Study Strong looks like” and offered a variety of ways for students to share their exam week experiences. Students were encouraged to protest the stress of finals and to feel solidarity with others who were studying. In an effort to help students “Study Strong,” the library scheduled give-aways of coffee, candy, Emergen-C, as well as fun activities for quick study breaks. The connections created by social media, however, helped expand the number of campus partners promoting College Library’s events and, in one instance, helped create a new one. On Sunday, May 8, WSUM station manger Danez Smith, tweeted, ” @UWMadison @Biddy_Martin you should send some free pizza to College Library.” And she did! Ian’s Pizza, fresh from feeding protestors at the capital, delivered a dozen pizzas to students studying at College Library. And they really appreciated it. Max Love tweeted to his followers, “Just got pizza from @Biddy_Martin that was delivered to @college_library. Took the last piece” and Jyoti reported, “Pizza on the 2nd floor of @college_library! thanks, @Biddy_Martin! best. chancellor. ever.”
The offical finals event began earlier in the week on Thursday, May 5th, with puzzles and coloring pages available in first floor center. Completed drawings were strategically placed around the library with blue painter’s tape. In addition, students were invited to have their picture taken at the “Show us what Study Strong looks like” Photo Booth. The photo op featured a campus icon, either Bucky Badger or Helen C. White, holding a “sign” with a Study Strong message. Selected images were featured on the library’s Website, Facebook page, Flickr account, and on a large monitor on the first floor of the library.
The Wisconsin Union sponsored free coffee, tea and hot chocolate in the Open Book Cafe on Friday, May 6th from 7pm to 2am. And GUTS Study Day tutoring on Saturday, May 7th (noon to midnight) included extra opportunities for last-minute assistance. Tutors offered coffee and treats for those receiving help in the 1st floor Student Services Area. Sunday, May 8th featured koosh balls and other stress-relieving toys for use in the library and Monday, May 9th, saw the return of the Photo Booth and the official Study Strong bracelet giveaway. And according to Tanner’s tweet, ” These #studySTRONG wrist bands at @college_library are great!”
On Tuesday, May 10th, therapy dogs visited the library (Study Strong with Puppy Power!!) from 3-7pm. Certified and trained dogs offered unconditional acceptance and affection. Again, the Twitter feedback was unanimously positive. According to Beau Trapp, “Just saw the puppies outside of @college_library! Makes me miss my dogs!#ilovebeingabadger.”
Free candy and Emergen-C were offered on Wednesday, May 11th, and students were allowed to choose their preferred study aid: chocolate or vitamins (or both!) Bucky Badger also stopped by the library twice, offering his own special brand study break entertainment. As one tweeter put it, “So I’m at @college_library. Bucky just randomly showed up and is now doing handstands. #ilovemylife ”
Thanks to all the campus partners and College Library staff who helped make these finals week events possible. In addition to the Wisconsin Union (Open Book Cafe free coffee) and the Office of the Dean of Students (GUTS Study Day treats) support is provided by the John M. Gaus fund and the College Library Director.
Remember, it takes a community to Study Strong!
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