Every finals season we hear students say that they’re camping out at the library until exams are over. So, to make this semester’s camping adventure a little more fun, College Library offered several camping-themed events to help students #studystrong. Together with campus partners, we hoped to bring a little fun into an otherwise stress-filled week of exams.
Beginning on Thursday, May 8, we encouraged students to create their own “Merit Badge(r)” with coloring pages that celebrated such milestones as ’24 Hours in the Library’ and ‘Intravenous Coffee Ingestion.’ Or, students could design their own merit badge and share it with others by posting it in the library. We discovered that some of our patrons have impressive anime skills, while others displayed a mordant sense of humor.
Once again the Open Book Café helped students with a “Caffeinated Camp Out” by giving away coffee, tea and hot chocolate from 7 pm-2 am on Friday, May 9. For “Get Campy” on the official Study Day on May 10th, GUTS tutors were available from 10 am until 10 pm 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. Also on Saturday, UW Men’s Basketball player Nigel Hayes stopped by to encourage students to #studystrong, or to be completely accurate, his alter-ego “Nigel Burgundy,” stopped by to film a Hayes for Days exclusive at College Library. Some of Nigel’s words of advice included, “Classical music is scientifically proven to increase brain output, productivity, and knowledge” and “For those you that need a little extra luck, that little extra push, give old Abe Lincoln’s toe a rub – it’s good luck!”
Truly getting in the spirit of our finals theme, staff from University Communications, including Kait the Badger, installed a tent in the library, set up an iPad camp fire, and encouraged people to stop by and share their spooky finals stories. Nikki Zhu was excited enough to tweet, “BREAKING NEWS: There is a student setting up a tent in the Open Book Café in @college_library #finalslivetweet.” The tent was up for a couple of hours on Saturday, long enough for several people to stop by and take selfies to prove they were really camped out in the library! A number of the library’s events were featured on the university’s home page and #UWSocial site ensuring a new level of campus engagement. Indeed, College Library gained 66 new Twitter followers and 21 additional Facebook fans during finals week.
Sunday, May 11, was Mother’s Day so we encouraged visitors to the library to write home with “Postcards from Camp.” In conjunction with the General Library System, College Library offered students a choice of four free library-themed postcards. They were encouraged to write a message home and then turn it in for free postage. Over 200 postcards were distributed that day, with 86 mailed home by College Library. That evening everyone’s favorite mascot, Bucky the Badger, stopped by to encourage students to #studystrong. KellyWMarie summed it up nicely in her tweet, “Spotted: Bucky and his posse @college_library causing ruckus per usual.#studystrong #uwgrad.”
On Monday, May 12, College Library’s button maker was available for students who wanted a more wearable merit badge. On “Merit Button Monday” students could use a pre-printed design or create one of their own; we knew it was a hit when one student showed up with a sheet of Game of Thrones houses to make into buttons. In addition to House Stark, 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 “Pitch a Pup Tent” 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 pizzas delivered to College Library that evening. Jacobim_Mugato tweeted “@UWMadison: HUGE SO to @LoriBerquam for all the late night brain food in @college_library.” More than one student expressed their appreciation through social media, although Alexandra Spring recounted her disappointment, “@UWMadison @LoriBerquam @college_library missed the pizza by half an hour #everysingleyear.”
Tuesday’s event was “Whiteboard Arts & Crafts,” because every camp needs mandatory creativity. On any of the many white boards around College Library students were encouraged to draw, calculate, doodle, give shout-outs, or just be silly. Staff posted images on the new Tumblr feed devoted to the white boards at the library. The finals events wrapped up with “Care Packages from the Library” on Wednesday, May 14, with giveaways of healthy snacks, such as fresh fruit, protein bars, and trail mix (courtesy of UHS) and Emergen-C at all of the library’s services desks.
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), the Office of the Dean of Students (GUTS Study Day treats), and University Health Services (care package snacks); additional support was provided by the John M. Gaus fund.