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Birthday bash welcomes students back

February 7, 2008

Most of us are able to recall the first time we set eyes on the newly finished University Center on campus one year ago. The towering building houses a reflection bigger than any other found in western Wisconsin. In an effort towards a “green” campus, an extra $1 million was dedicated toward sustainable development in the building voted on by UWRF students. The week of January 28, the University Center hosted the Welcome Back Birthday Bash.

To celebrate the one-year birthday of the University Center, a series of free events took place during the first week of the new spring semester. On Monday, the “Birthday Party Kick-Off” was held at the Robert ‘Bob’ Sievert Fire Place Lounge in the University Center. Appropriately, a birthday cake was present to treat attendees.

Also on Monday, a “drive-in” double-feature was shown in the Falcon’s Nest of the University Center. The chosen films were “Grease” and “Superbad.” Students had the option of bringing a blanket and gazing up at the big screen or sitting in the provided seating to enjoy the films.

On Tuesday, over 100 people were entertained by the Minneapolis singer/songwriter Ari Herstand. The folk rock music was held at the Falcon’s Nest in the University Center amidst students making arts and crafts and enjoying the provided food. To accompany the “green” mentality of the building, there were eco-friendly canvas grocery bags available for decorating.

On Wednesday, the interactive improvisational comedy group, Comedy Sportz, performed. Hailing from Minneapolis, Comedy Sportz involves audience suggestions in their zany jokes and made up scenes. Comedy Sportz was sponsored by the Student Entertainment and Arts Committee (SEAC).

All week long at the University Center, people were given the chance to sign up for the Ping-Pong tournament held on Thursday.

“We had over 25 people play, with most of those being walk-ups.  People were standing around and watching as the tournament finished.  No one really left, even if they had been defeated and were done,” said Kurran Sagan, Recreational Leadership Coordinator.

Winners of the tournament will receive an Intramural long sleeve shirt and runner-ups will receive a short sleeve T-shirt.

“Other highlights were the talent of some of the students participating. Aaron, the guy that won the tournament, had a mean back hand and Josh, the second place guy, had a fire behind some of his shots, defeating his competition with ease!” said Brittany Johnson, UWRF student and facilitator of the event for the Recreational Activities Committee.

The Ping-Pong tournament was sponsored by the Committee. The Committee also hopes to continue the tournament Thursday evenings throughout the semester with a possibility of adding billiards to the fun.

Friday was the night to break out the dance moves. The “Dance, Dance Revolution” game was played on the big screen in the Riverview Ballroom in the University Center. Free food and refreshments were provided as well.

One of the more impressive recent installations in the University Center is the piece of art unveiled on Monday in the Fire Place Lounge. The artist, Bonnie Rubinstein, spoke about the piece, called “River Fusion,” and showed a video of how the piece was created. The fused glass sculpture representing the Kinnickinnick River is on display in the Lounge. Inspired by the natural beauty of the town’s river, Bonnie used a layering method of glass fused as a sole piece to portray the depth of the river, as well as stones and grass surrounding the sculpted river.

The University Center has been a central commons area for the campus community for one year, leaving Hagestad Hall and David Rodli Commons collecting dust and muddy footprints of students cutting paths through the buildings. There have been many improvements and additions to the building, as well as kinks worked out during the year.

One addition that will be arriving to the University Center sometime between mid to late February is an extra lounge. The lounge areas in the University Center have been quite popular among the students in the past year. The new soft seating area will be located in the north section of Pete’s Creek.