Warhawk Almanac: It’s May Week Whitewater!

In 1969, UW-Whitewater organized its first May Week. It would take place May 4th – May 11th as a way “to get the campus out to have fun together with the town and parents.” [1] It was a huge success! There were dances, stag and drag races, films to be watched, a Whitewater Forum presentation, a carnival, sports games, concerts, and Phi Sigma Epsilon even held a pancake brunch. [2] By 1976, the celebrations were still going strong, but now it was being used as a way “to strip Whitewater of its reputation as a suitcase college” by giving students a reason to stay. [3]

Whitewater May Week, 1972, in 1972 Minnieska (Whitewater: University of Wisconsin Whitewater, 1972), 58.

UW-Whitewater hosted its final May Week celebration April 28th-May 4th, 1980. Many of the events from the first May Week took place. Students enjoyed the warm weather and relaxed while listening to bands preform at the Spring Outdoor Happening Concert. However, some students interrupted comedian Tom Parks’ act and booed him off the stage. Other students also unplugged Tom Clyde’s amplifier during his performance. [4] By the 1980s, May Week turned from a campus and community event to a campus celebration. The traditions that took place at the first celebration continued, but also included many events were put on as fundraising opportunities for buildings and organizations around campus. A few events were even hosted by the Miller Brewing Company. This all changed in 1985 when Assistant Chancellor of Student Affairs, William Riley. and Director of the University Center, Steven Summers, decided that there would be no sponsorship of alcohol anywhere on the campus. [5]

May Week was successful in giving the students of UW-Whitewater the opportunity to relax and enjoy the spring weather as a campus and community, and more students were staying on campus to enjoy the festivities.

[1] “WSU-W Students Prepare for First May Week,” The Whitewater Register, May 1, 1969.
[2] “WSU-W Students Prepare for First May Week,” The Whitewater Register, May 1, 1969.
[3] “Dorms Show Super Spirit,” The Royal Purple, February 11, 1976.
[4] “Inconsiderate students mar May Week events,” The Royal Purple, May 7, 1980.
[5] “Sponsors,” The Royal Purple, September 18, 1985.

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