New Tradition Captures a W Snapshot

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Students attending Wisconsin Welcome activities in September took part in a new tradition by joining band members on the field at Camp Randall Stadium to make a huge W. All of the first-year Badgers wore complimentary T-shirts supporting The Red Shirt™ program, which raises funds for the need-based Great People Scholarship. Photo: Bryce Richter.

Coolest. Class. Picture. Ever.

As first-year students gathered for Wisconsin Welcome activities at Camp Randall Stadium in September, a new tradition took shape. After a program designed to teach them about essential UW traditions, students descended on the field to form the shape of a W for a giant photo op.

Known as the W Project, the super- snapshot was inspired by similar efforts at other Big Ten schools. Not to be outdone, students from the Wisconsin Alumni Student Board (WASB) spent months collaborating with the Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA), the Center for the First-Year Experience, University Communications, the UW Marching Band, and UW Athletics to pull off the event. The official photo, as well as candid shots and a time-lapse video, were shared with students and the campus community.

Before making their trek onto the field, participants received this year’s edition of The Red Shirt™, which supports the Great People Scholarship.

“As first-year students begin their time here at UW–Madison, we want to introduce them to a tradition that can be carried into alumnihood,” says Shannon Timm ’08, a WAA marketing manager. “The Red Shirt represents a sense of identity, community, pride, and belonging.”

The welcome event featured speakers from UW Athletics — including football coach Gary Andersen and Badger basketball student-athletes Sam Dekker x’16 and Josh Gasser x’15 — who talked about the UW experience, good sportsmanship, and student conduct at events. WAA president Paula Bonner MS’78 spoke about the importance of staying connected to the university, and the UW Marching Band performed a rendition of the Fifth Quarter to help incoming students learn the lyrics and motions of the UW’s most popular tunes.

Participants were active on Twitter using hashtags #WProject and #Badgers, and showed off photos of themselves as they wore the The Red Shirt for the first time.

“WASB was interested in organizing the event to fulfill our mission of linking students past, present, and future,” says B.C. Cole x’15, one of the Wisconsin Alumni Student Board organizers. “The W Project hits on all three points, as it gets current students engaged at the event, allows the photo to be shared with future Badgers and alumni, and is a memento to those current students after graduation.”

Published in the Winter 2014 issue

Tags: Athletics, Student life, Students, Tradition

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