Spring 2013 – Building Study Strong

With the remodeling of the Memorial Union Theatre Wing and road repairs on Park Street, just getting to College Library in the spring semester was a bit of a challenge. But, always ready to turn lemons into lemonade, the staff at the library decided to embrace the construction motif and use it as a theme for our finals events – “Building Study Strong.” Together with campus partners, we worked to bring a little fun and relaxation into the normally stressful time of final exams.

Without access to earthmovers or construction cranes, we decided to scale it down a bit and allow students to spend some quality time with construction toys & games including Jenga and LEGOs. We encouraged them to take a moment to build something with LEGO pieces, erect the tallest tower they could with Jenga blocks, or to construct an origami paper crane to help decorate the library. We hoped they would then post a photo on College Library’s new Instagram account or use the hashtag #studystrong to share their creativity.

Once again the Open Book Cafe helped students to “Build Your Caffeine Level” with their coffee, tea and hot chocolate give-away from 7pm-2am on Friday, May 10. For “Build a Study Day,” GUTS tutors were available from noon until midnight on Saturday, May 11, 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.

Sunday, May 12, was Mother’s Day so we encouraged visitors to the library to “Build a Better Bond” with free postcards. In conjunction with the General Library System, College Library offered students a choice of four library-themed postcards. They were encouraged to write a message home and then turn it in for free postage. Over 545 postcards were distributed during finals week (240 of them on the first day alone) and nearly 200 were mailed by College Library, including over 50 to international addresses.

On Monday, May 13, College Library unveiled its new button maker to ecstatic reviews. Students could “Build a Button” with a pre-printed design (Young Helen C. was very popular) or design one of their own. Although it took nearly three days, the library eventually went through 1,000 button parts. One of the pre-printed button designs featured Charlotte, the French bulldog, who has her own fan club when Dogs on Call visit the library. Monday afternoon was devoted to “Build a Four-Legged Friendship” with nearly two-dozen therapy canines on hand to provide valuable stress relief to students. The day was made complete when Lori Berquam, Dean of Students, had thirty Ian’s pizzas delivered to College Library at 9pm. PaulRobbins15 tweeted “@LoriBerquam, our Dean of Students is a River to Her People! MT @UWMadison: Late-night ‘za at @college_library.” More than one student expressed their appreciation through social media.

While button-making continued, Tuesday’s event, “Build a Game Addiction,” offered students the opportunity to take a study break and play Tetris on the large monitor in the library’s “living room.” One student tweeted, “Thanks @college_library for not letting me study.. But i did set the high score!” and included a photo as proof while @UWMadison got in on the fun by tweeting, “@college_library You just ear-wormed us on that theme song! #tetris”

Wednesday, May 15, was “Build Your Energy/Immune System” with giveaways of candy and Emergen-C and the week of events concluded on Thursday, May 16, with “Build Badger Blessings.” Students were encouraged to chalk shout-outs on the courtyard or to leave an encouraging message on a large white board next to the Information Desk. One of our favorites came from “Graduation Llama” (pictured below).

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 the immortal words of a student identified only by his Twitter handle – BascomFlamingo -“I’m stressed, miserable & sleep deprived, but @college_library has made it a little more enjoyable. #youkilledit #studystrong #lovemyschool” We’re glad to do it!

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