Don’t say you’re bored

Story by Sam Peterson

There’s a phrase that seems to float around Eau Claire as commonly and permanently as the Chippewa River. I hear it daily, typically muttered amidst small talk with a subtle eye-roll or head-shake. But then it’s passed, floated by and hardly noticed:

‘You live in Eau Claire? Hm! What’s it like?’

‘Oh, you know. It’s nice.’

Or, alternatively:

‘Oh, you know. Blah.’

Or, less flatteringly:

‘Oh, you know there’s not an interesting thing (other than tubing) in this God-forsaken Blandville to save its life … it’s Eau Claire!’

Yes, Eau Claire is the poster child of medium-sized Wisconsin cities, proudly waving its flag of green-and-gold in one hand and wielding a squeaky-fresh cheese curd in the other. It has a population of 60,000 and feels more like 600. Aaron Rodgers and a Leinie’s keg are its hallmarks … and that’s about it.

Well friends, I disagree.

We grumble about how little there is to do here. ‘There’s no atmosphere, there’s no student life,’ I hear repetitively. This sounds as if, upon arrival at this new world called College, we should expect marvelous and magical activities to fall upon us like 8 feet of inevitable Wisconsin snow. And when they don’t, we are furious. Clearly, such activities must be mythical … or at least far beyond the reaches of modest Eau Claire.

I’ve got some wonderful, wonderful news:

They aren’t!

Go! Look! I promise you that not only is our campus riddled with — seriously — an unbelievable amount of events, programs, activities and resources, they are incredibly accessible.

I encourage you to occasionally check out the many bulletin boards and flyer kiosks scattered around campus. Dismiss the annoyingly perpetual subleaser requests and look for the clubs and opportunities advertised. The colorful (and free!) flyers in Davies are virtually begging passersby to pick them up and get involved. Hibbard, Phillips, Haas and other buildings all have boards constantly displaying upcoming events — usually reflecting the interests of those who frequent them most often.

Various publications are available (and free!) for what will be happening in, for example, the Forum, the UAC, the Cabin, Hilltop, etc. If you can get your hands on one of those full-sized planners the freshmen get (or just go canvass Towers for unused copies, it works, trust me), you’ll find an overwhelming amount of information. And this very newspaper you’re reading can surely direct you to upcoming and worthwhile opportunities.

Not only does our campus successfully provide an impressive quantity of events and activities, it ensures a high standard of quality. The assumption seems that because UW-Eau Claire doesn’t carry the prestige of, say, a UW-Madison, what it offers is probably lacking. With four years under my proud belt, I refute that statement.

As personal testimony, I am inspired by a recent Spectator article to venture over to the archery range (for free!) ASAP. I hope to soon schedule a one-on-one session with LTS in the 24-hour lab to learn more about video editing (all free!). I’ve attended inspirational international poetry readings, mind-blowing Forum speakers, wild sporting events and random movements on the lower campus mall (free, free, free).

These things do not require membership or a secret password to access; in fact, they are too often desperately wishing more students would investigate them.

The resources and opportunities are there, friends. The list goes on and on beyond this brief article. Find them! Get your passion on, and I promise you will not be disappointed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sam Peterson is a senior psychology and public communication double major and freelancer at The Spectator.