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Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | MAY 10, 2011 7:20 AM

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We need a spring festival

On the way back to Iowa City from Madison, Wis., this weekend, I reflected on my third-straight year going to Mifflin Street Block Party and came to the realization that Iowa needs to have a spring festival of similar fashion.

Out of the current 11 Big Ten universities, six (that I know of) have some type of "Spring Festival" or event that helps each school create some type of identity and differentiates it from the other schools. But what makes us unique?

If you said Greek Week, take a lap.

Illinois, as most know, has its annual Unofficial St. Patrick's Day Celebration in March, Northwestern has Dillo Day in late May, Minnesota has its Spring Jam at the end of April and Indiana has its famous Little 500 each May. Good God, even Iowa State has a spring celebration each spring with VEISHEA.

Indeed, most of these events are outlets for alcohol consumption and partying — but to their specific schools, they mean much more than that.

For example, Wisconsin-Madison's Mifflin St. Block Party may be one big "party," but it originated with protests against the Vietnam War in 1969. Known as one of the most liberal college towns in the country, Madison celebrates its history by packing Mifflin Street each spring.

In addition, Purdue's Grand Prix is a charity go-kart race that helps raise money for Purdue students. Indiana's Little 500, an annual bike race, shares a similar concept and raises money for a scholarship fund for Indiana students, too. Students helping students — what a concept.

In the past three years here I have seen this school lose its sense of identity. With certain university officials eliminating fun and ignoring students' wishes across the board, this is our opportunity to start something great, students.

Alex French
UI junior


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