Parental Discretion Advised
When I was in school the first time, I forgot to play. I forgot that college was a place to learn about history, math, science, AND life. I was political and did not pay much attention to the hundreds of clubs on campus or the opportunities they provided. When I returned to college last year, I vowed to add fun to my curriculum.
College should be a healthy blend of academia and parties. As the old saying goes, "All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl." Now is the time of ASCSU elections and what do I see on the plaza? I see deadly serious candidates, clones of the government in Washington, D.C., (white shirts, ties, skirts and suits), talking about campus relations, students' rights, and voter apathy. Serious. Serious. Serious. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah Blah. Now tell me truthfully, do you relate to all that? Are you going to vote for someone who wears the uniform of the elected official, or someone that looks like you, walks like you and talks like you? Did these people forget that they have the perfect opportunity to make some real changes on campus, or are they just senators-in-training, waiting to argue in the halls of Congress after they graduate? Did they forget to have fun?
I went to college in the early `70's. I protested the Vietnam war. I burned my bra while my friends burned their draft cards. Collective, peaceful consciousness was my motto. Serious. Serious. Serious. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Then a revolution came to the campus of the University of Wisconsin. Students voted in the infamous "Pail and Shovel Party." Their platform was "college for the sake of fun." They knew it was time to end all that serious political stuff.
One morning the sun rose over the grass on Bascom Hill to reveal thousands of pink flamingos roosting. Their plastic pink wings and shiny aluminum legs shimmered in the sunlight. The college newspaper said this was just a prank initiated by our new "Pail and Shovel" leaders. This was not just a prank. It was the first of many harmless and fun projects the students witnessed.
One of my favorite projects was the annual "boom-box" parade. Students were invited to march from the State Capital to Bascom Hill, the only requirement was to carry some sort of boom-box. The response was overwhelming! There were marchers with huge boomers and miniature boxes. There were people dressed as boom-boxes, cardboard boxes and group boxes. One of the best was the boom-box drill team. Marchers on skates and marchers in wagons filled the street. One marcher wore just a T-shirt (that is right, JUST a T-shirt) with "I'm too poor for a boom-box." painted on it. Student apathy was ending. Students were getting involved.
The University of Wisconsin was transformed. The serious few became the involved many. Campus clubs surged in popularity, students gave gallery input in the senate chambers, and there was a rise in political awareness that even the Vietnam war protests could not achieve. The "Pail and Shovel Party" proved that campus life need not be all work and no play. It showed that if you want involvement, you have to make it fun!
What has all this got to do with the elections that are going on this week? Just one thing. Whoever is elected to the presidency or senate must remember the lesson learned from the "Pail and Shovel Party." Politics is serious business and it must involve the masses, but to involve the masses it must be fun. There is only one full day of voting left. Candidates take off your ties and suits, put on your jeans and tennis shoes and go out on the plaza and have some fun. Invite students to throw wet sponges at your picture. Jump rope. Play hopscotch with issues in the squares instead of numbers. Paint old sheets showing support of a favorite issue. Student apathy is a big problem on this campus. Do something different and involvement will follow. It worked once. It can work again.