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Opinion

Unique features of UWRF should be embraced as the year comes to a close

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May 5, 2011

UWRF, or Moo U as it’s known by the cynical, is an underrated university in an underrated city.  The Moo U label should be embraced.  The rodeo alone is sufficient bragable material.  It’s the most audience-friendly, interactive collegiate event I’ve ever been a part, of as a spectator or participant; and if I’m not mistaken UWRF is the only school with a rodeo team east of the Mississippi. Quite a unique feature of our little University.   

The glass studio is one of the two in the UW System, with the other being in Madison.  Definitely a plus for the art-oriented and another unique feature of UWRF.
For 17 years UWRF was the second home to an NFL team.  How many towns, much less colleges can claim that?  Well, 32 can. If Missouri wouldn’t have offered the Chiefs unmatchable tax breaks to stay home for the summer they would still be here.  Having grown up in “RF” as well I can attest to the fact that the arrival of the Chiefs every summer is something that was wildly under-appreciated. 

The Kinnickinnic River is a national treasure that is invisible to the majority on campus.  The stretch upstream of town is world-class trout fishing, with over 10,000 fish per mile of water.  From River Falls to the St. Croix, the Kinni is as gorgeous a stretch of water as there is in Wisconsin, maybe in the country.  Float it in a kayak once.  I GUARANTEE you will have to remind yourself that you are in Wisconsin at least twice.  If the massive cottonwood trees arching over the water and broad-leafed ferns don’t get you, the 150 foot limestone cliffs with spring water seeping out their sides will.  Oh, and I forgot to mention the moss-fuzzed rocks that give the air a beautifully sweet and fresh aroma.

I’ve gone sentimental because I will be one of the graduating crowd next week.  Looking back on my years at UWRF made me realize how lucky we are here.  And even though tuition’s gone up, it’s still a steal compared to one of those schools crammed into a space too small in one of those concrete jungles.  Enjoy it.

I would like to finish my work for the Voice by admonishing my advisor and the faculty overlord for the Voice, Andris Straumanis.  He’s the guy wondering North Hall with the scary-intense stare and fashionable glasses.  You know what kind of stare I’m talking about.  It’s the kind that turns you pale and gives you a nervous twitch from all the way across the room.  And that’s when he’s in a good mood.  Despite what the bad@$$ evil-eye implies, Andris works as hard for his students as any professor I’ve had; and I’ve had a lot of professors.  I’ve been here for six years.  A testament to his work is his ability to turn a hack like me into a somewhat readable writer.  Thank you Andris.  Thank you UWRF. It’s been fun.