Blugolds push to build bigger alumni legacy

Alyssa Kohls’ mother was walking home from work decked out in her uniform when someone hanging off a porch asked her on
a date.
She agreed. And after a game of darts at a local bar, the UW-Eau Claire students started dating.
“My dad claims it was love at first sight,” Kohls, a student and volunteer at Hey Blugold, said.
About 25 students gathered in Schofield Auditorium Wednesday for Hey Blugold, an event set up for kids of Eau Claire Alumni. Students sampled free pizza and flipped through yearbooks looking for graduation photos of parents.
Michelle Olson, a staff member at Wednesday’s event, was handing out free seat cushions to students at the entrance to Schofield.  University Alumni relations staff put together a mailing list for students with alumni parents.
“Our hope is to create excitement about a Blugold legacy,” Olson said.
Yearbooks sat on a table by the Schofield stage. It took Student Body President Bryan Larson longer to wipe pizza grease off a page in the ’78 yearbook than it did to find a picture of his dad.
Larson’s parents met during their on-campus jobs in the cafeteria. His dad checked IDs and his mom made salads. Larson’s mom was a couple years younger than his dad, working on a business degree, while he was finishing up a psychology degree.
“My dad actually lived on the same floor in Horan as I did,” Larson said. “I lived on the third floor, and he lived a couple doors down from me.”
Larson said his dad went to Halloween parties on Water Street back when the city would fence off the streets from car traffic.
Kimera Way, the UW-Eau Claire foundation president, spoke to students at the event as well.
She said the event aimed to establish a community for legacy students.
“We want to do more to work with alumni,” Way said. “We’ve had students come here from Texas and California because their parents went here. They are a part of something special; this is part of their history.”
There are about 600 to 700 students on campus who have alumni as parents. But that’s not counting students who have aunts, uncles or other relatives who attended Eau Claire, Way said.
Freshman Nolan Woessner, theatre and computer science double major, said although the free pizza was a big factor in his decision to attend the event, he also wanted to meet other students with alumni as parents.
Woessner’s folks also met at Eau Claire during an English class they took together.
“My dad thought she was cute and tried to study with her,” Woessner said. “They bring up their time at Eau Claire every once in a while. They always say they enjoyed living here.”
Way said the university put on the event in Schofield specifically because it’s the oldest building on campus. Every
student who went to Eau Claire has sat in the auditorium seating.
“We want to do more work with legacy students and alumni,” Way said. “This is something we need to celebrate.”