Spring 2012 – Have a Nice Finals

College Library first began serving the undergraduate population of UW-Madison during the 1971-72 academic year. Indeed, the cube chairs in many areas of the library remain a testament to the era. In honor of our 40th anniversary, we decided to offer a variety of ’70s themed activities and give-aways to help students “Study Strong” and reduce the end-of-semester stress. Together with campus partners, we hoped to bring a little fun into an otherwise stressful time. Given our anniversary, students were encouraged to use the #collegeat40 hashtag when posting photos and tweets during the week. Over a dozen students responded includine Jerad McHenry who noted, “Beginning what is hopefully my last all-nighter of my undergrad career. It’s been real HC White, but it’s time we part ways!” Here’s to all of the seniors like Jerad who have spent a productive four years within the walls of College Library. We wish you the best at graduation!

Nothing says 1970s like a big, furry mustache, so it seemed appropriate to kick-off our finals events with a self-adhesive mustache giveaway. Available in a range of colors and styles, including the Smartie, the Rogue, the Scoundrel, and the Bandit, the library managed to give away over 400 mustaches over the course of a few hours on Thursday, May 10. For those less inclined to embrace facial hair, the library also provided smiley-face buttons. We encouraged students to proudly wear the yellow button to show how optimistic they were about finals. Also available on Thursday were 1970s-themed coloring pages featuring icons of the era, pet rocks, sea monkeys, bell-bottoms, etc.

Once again the Open Book Cafe’s helped students to “Have a Caffeinated Day” with their coffee, tea and hot chocolate give-away from 7pm-2am on Friday, May 11. For “Have a Study Day,” GUTS tutors were available from noon until midnight on Saturday, May 12, to help students will all of their last-minute tutoring needs. The free coffee and treats for those receiving assistance were sponsored by ASM and the Division of Student Life. On Sunday, May 13, students were invited to “Have an Even More Caffeinated Day” when the Wisconsin Alumni Association provided soda, water, and especially energy drinks at their WAA Hookup.

On Monday, May 14, library users could “Have a Relaxing Day” with 5 minute neck & shoulder massages provided by massage-therapists from UHS. A welcome surprise that evening, in addition to an appearance by Bucky Badger, were twenty-five pizzas sent by Lori Berquam, the Dean of Students. Josh Kuester tweeted “What a nice lady” when he discoverd the treat while Katie Foran-McHale wrote, “Free pizza??? We’re stationed on the first floor, can’t wait! Thank you! #studystrong.”

Even though the movie wasn’t released until 1975, we couldn’t resist the pun and invited folks to “Have a Dog Day Afternoon” on Tuesday, May 15, when the therapy dogs from Dogs on Call visited the library from 4-6 pm. Despite a brief storm that moved everyone inside, students really appreciated the opportunity to indulge in a little canine-bonding. Wednesday, May 16, found people humming, ” Who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it with dew, cover it with choc’late and a miracle or two?” Turns out that it’s both the Candy Man and Helen C., that’s who, thanks to the free candy at the library’s service desks.

In addition to the coloring pages, all week long there were hand-outs with tips for reducing stress and exercises designed for sitting at tables for lengthy periods of time. The library’s Web site also included links for relaxation tips, games, and the online version of the 1970s coloring pages.

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.

In 2009 College Library first adopted the “Study Strong” slogan and coined a Twitter hashtag – #studystrong. This semester the phrase “Study Strong” became a campus-wide theme with a number of departments, including University Communications, adopting it as the message of finals. The libraries of UW-Madison collected a number of the posts and tweets that referenced “Study Strong” in a Storify collection. Not surprising are the number of sunrise photos taken from College Library featured in the collection. We know our students are committed to their studies (and their library) and we thank them for making it another great year!

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