The legend of the shoe tree

When will you embark on the tradition, and what will your parting message be?

Each year seniors commemorate their graduation by knotting the laces of a worn pair of sneakers and lofting them high into the branches of a campus landmark, the Shoe Tree. The origins of this custom remain a mystery. No one knows who started it but everyone has a tale to tell about it.

One story suggests it all began in 1989. Supposedly, a student walking back from playing intramural basketball threw another student’s shoes in a tree, beginning the tradition. Another story has it that an angry student threw his roommate’s shoes in the tree after an argument. Stories are changed and embellished each year but the tradition remains constant; graduating seniors toss their “soles” high into the oak- often with parting messages on them.
“Keep swinging,” wrote Mike Vuola, history major, class of ’02.
“I made it!” wrote Nicki Enz, class of 2001.

One frightful night the Shoe Tree fell, and everyone felt its thump. A summer thunderstorm claimed the campus landmark on July, 30, 2002 with winds gusting nearly 50 mph. The beloved and mighty oak toppled in the storm but students refused to let the longstanding tradition die.
Katie Johnson, former Director of the Ecumenical Center, called the Shoe Tree an important symbol. “The Shoe Tree represents success. You get to throw your shoes up in its branches and leave a part of your soul at UWGB as you embark on the next part of your life.”

On October 11, 2002 a rededication ceremony occurred with the naming of the new Shoe Tree. It is now located in-between the Ecumenical Center and the Kress Events Center. The new location is convenient for the “Bless My Sole” event hosted each year by the Ecumenical center. The event allows alumni, campus guests, and students to participate in what has now become a rite of passage.
When will you embark on the tradition, and what will your parting message be?

-Mary Simonsen

How did we become the Phoenix?

From “Bay Badger” to “Fighting Phoenix”

1970 – As UW-Green Bay prepared to graduate its first class of seniors and conclude its first year of intercollegiate competition, it was decided to cut the cord with the flagship parent campus in Madison and adopt our own emblem. UW-Green Bay decided to send the water-skiing version of Bucky Badger on a permanent vacation.

The Fourth Estate printed a poll that gave the students the opportunity to vote for the new University mascot.  The choices ranged from the UW-Green Bay Loggers, Eco-men, Beavers, Voyageurs, and even the Fighting Tomatoes.  Other suggestions were related to environmental themes, due to our environmental reputation.

A favorite bit of early UWGB lore is that massive vote fraud pushed the off-beat entry “Tomatoes” to a first-place finish. The newspaper’s editor, Patrick Madden, class of ‘71, even confirms that version.

“(The newspaper) was running the election,” Madden said in a 1992 interview. “On the last day before publication some guy came in with a sketch of a tomato he had made in blue ink on notebook paper.”

Madden had to re-touch the art before it could appear in the newspaper on the official ballot. When Tomatoes squeaked to a 10-vote victory, as Madden tells the story, he revisited the rule book and declared the entry had not met the requirements for a “reproducible drawing.”

He also spared himself the agony of having to tell Founding Chancellor Edward Weidner that his beloved institution would have a Fighting Tomato as its mascot, its teams would have tomato-red jerseys, and its fans would rally players with shouts of “C’mon Tomatoes, ketch up!”

“Phoenix was accepted right away,” says Madden, who went on to a distinguished law career as a Wisconsin circuit court judge. “And there’s been no question it has been a great nickname.”

According to legend, the Phoenix lives for a 500-1000 year cycle, and when death approaches, the bird builds a nest, the nest is ignited by the sun, and the flames engulf the bird.  From the ashes, the Phoenix is reborn to live anew.  Emerging from the ashes, the phoenix symbolizes rebirth or regeneration.    The flame used in the design can be interpreted as the flame of knowledge and of regeneration.

The symbol emphasizes the singular closeness of campus and community; faculty, staff, and students; and teams representing the University.

For decades, UW-Green Bay was the only NCAA Division 1 sports program with the nickname “Phoenix” until a few years ago when D-1 newcomer Elon College in North Carolina decided to also adopt the nickname “Phoenix”.  At the small-college level, Swarthmore College and Wilson College have also jumped on the Phoenix bandwagon.

Focus on Registration

These are my favorite days of the year! All the freshman and their parents are coming to campus over the next weeks to sign up for classes and learn about all the resources available to them when they start school in the fall.

The neat part about what we call FOCUS: R&R (which means First year Opportunties and Connections for UW-Green Bay Students: Registration and Resources) is that the students get separated from the parents and they get to know other new students to UWGB. The Parents all stay together and get to learn how to be a great UWGB parents.

The energy is high around campus and people are having fun getting to know their new home away from home.  When students leave R&R they have a class schedule, student ID and the confidence to know they are going to have a great time learning and growing personally for the next few years.

As an Admissions Adviser, R&R is one of the best days of the whole year because we see all the people we’ve talked to, toured, read about, and admitted.  I’m including some pictures from the last few days…enjoy!

Registration: A True Story

Yesterday, I registered for my fall 2010 classes. This is a particularly stressful time for any student you ask, so I’ve decided to keep a journal of my activities so you get a true sense of what registration day is really like.

April 19th, 2010:
7:15: Wake up (15 minutes late), and hop into the shower. Get ready for the day.
8:15: Turn on my computer and check SIS (Student Information System) to see if any of my prospective classes had filled.
8:30: Seeing that my classes were still open, I relaxed and watch an episode of the Fresh Prince while enjoying a nice breakfast of peanut butter toast.
9:00: Left for class…after checking on my wish list one more time.
9:30: Chemistry lecture- Used the school’s free wireless internet to check my wish list on my Ipod. I don’t really remember what we learned in class.
10:25: Chemistry is over- Checked SIS once again before my Jazz History lecture.
11:30: Sprint back to my apartment after lecture is over. After checking SIS again and saw that my classes were still open, I took a nap!
12:30: Woke up feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed, only to find that my physics lab had been wait listed. I quickly switched to a different section on my wish list. I also found an alternate class to take, just in case!
1:30: After lunch, I checked on my classes one last time before leaving for chemistry lab.
2:15: Chemistry lab starts (2:15-5:05). There’s only one computer to use. I’m worried.
3:00: REGISTRATION is finally here. I abandon the toxic chemicals I had been working with (Not a joke, they were really toxic!) and run to the computer before anyone else can.
3:01: Registered for fall 2010 classes, and can finally relax!
There you have it. I know in text, it may not seem very stressful, but I assure you my heart was beating double time the entire day. Yes, I may have obsessively checked my wish list, and yes, I may have been overreacting…but in the end, it all worked out and I got the classes I needed.
Registration 2010=Success! :)

You Pick!

Picking the right school is difficult and different for everyone.  Several factors go into finding the right school, and when it comes down to it, it’s all about personal preference.  But to help you evaluate your values and preferences, I thought I’d share my UWGB story with you all.

When initially looking at schools, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay wasn’t even on my radar.  My plan was to stay close to home and apply to all Universities within an hour’s distance from my hometown.  It wasn’t until I was assigned a project in one of my communications classes that required us to research UW-Schools that I learned that Green Bay wasn’t just the home of the Packers!  The more I researched the school, the more it piqued my interests, and I finally convinced my parents to take the 3 hour trip with me to tour the campus.

After the tour my mindset had totally changed.  I was in love with this campus, and everything about it seemed to fit with my personality.  UWGB was smaller than a lot of the other schools I was looking at during that time, which I liked.  I’m from a small town, and only went to high school with 200 other kids, so being thrown into a massive pool of thousands of students was a little overwhelming for me.  The location really appealed to me as well.  Despite the fact that campus was three hours away from home, the fact that UWGB is separated from the city with acres of beautiful country land was more than a perk in my book!

It was hard to find something that I didn’t really like about UWGB, making my decision all the more fun!  In the end I knew that this was the right school for me, and I haven’t once regretted my decision to attend the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay!

But don’t just take one person’s opinion.  Find out why other students chose UWGB!

Also, there’s one more Campus Preview Day coming up on Friday, April 23rd.  This is our last campus preview day of the year, so sign up fast!

Sophomore Slump


We all hear about it, but I didn’t experience it until this semester, and boy did it hit me like a ton of bricks!  Sophomore slump is in full force for me and I know it can be extremely difficult to overcome if you don’t have the proper tools to avoid it.  It’s all the same, whether it be my sophomore slump or your high school ‘senioritis’ (which can also be a nasty bug to catch!),  all the motivation to do well in school is totally lost.  Students say they often feel depressed or confused, with no motivation or desire to go to class or do homework.  Sound familiar?  If so, you’ve caught the bug!   Here are some homemade remedies just for you…

Be Active!

Research areas of interest to you, including your majors, minors, and even extracurricular. Find something you’ll love, and go with it!

Set Goals!

Set goals for yourself either during your sophomore year of college, or for your high school graduation.  Make sure your goals are attainable, and are specific to your own needs.

Stay Healthy!

It’s something simple that can make a lot of difference.  By eating healthy and staying active, you’ll feel more energized and motivated to do other things (Like homework, perhaps?)

Ask Questions!

Talking to academic advising, professors, or your high school guidance counselor is always a great way to clear the air and have your questions answered.  Don’t be shy; no question is a stupid question!

Don’t Go Overboard!

Science majors are especially susceptible to this.  Manage your schedule and make sure that it’s balanced between classes you will enjoy, and classes that are required for your major.  If you overload yourself with hard classes, you are more likely to become disconnected and eventually even depressed. 

I hope these tips will cure your slumps and help you stay motivated throughout the year.  If you have any questions at all, feel free to ask.

Feel Better Soon!


Spring Break: My Way

Hey bloggers and blog readers!

Spring break is over, and its time to start getting back into the swing of things for the rest of the semester. But before I do, I wanted to share my spring break experience with you all. This year, I decided to forgo the beaches and have a relaxing spring break at home. It was nice to catch up on sleep, vege out on the couch, and not have to work about Chemistry homework for an entire week! I also spent a lot of quality time with my family and friends from home and even perfected my golf swing for when Shorewood opens. The only down side to my break was the timing. The majority of my friends from home still had class, or had already been on spring break, so it was difficult to find time to hang out. My friends who are still in High School also had classes during the week, so the only time I could see them were on the weekends. But never fear! We’ll all get a chance to hang out when we go home this weekend for Easter!

All-in-all, I’m glad to be back at UWGB so I can hit the books hard and get ready to end my sophomore year of college strong. Besides, now that spring break is over, there’s only 8 MORE WEEKS UNTIL SUMMER!!!

Think Spring!


Housing sign up wasn’t too long ago, and for me the key to a happy year on campus is finding great roommates to spend your time with! Here are some traits of the roommate best avoided.

1. The Borrower: We all know who these people are. Whether it be your clothes or your notes, a roommate who borrows everything is never appreciated.

2. The Slob: Having a messy roommate is never fun to live with. Clean up, do your dishes, and shower on a regular basis.

3. The Bad Communicator: Communication is key among roommates. If you have a problem with someone you’re living with, how are you supposed fix it with out talking to them?

4. The Hover Craft: Having a roommate who continues to invade your personal space can become annoying and exhausting. Back off once in awhile.

5. The Know-It-All: It’s impossible to be right 100% of the time. Having roommates is about making compromises and coming to an agreement on the issues you’re having.

If you get stuck with a roommate who possesses one or more of these qualities, you might want to…

1. Leave Your Problems At the Door: Gossiping and bring more people into an argument or issue is never good. Instead, sit down and talk it out just between the two of you, or talk to your RA for some advice.

2. Come to an Agreement: Work your issues out, and do your best to start over!

3. Keep Trying: Don’t give up just because you and your roommate had one argument. Do your best to solve it, and don’t hold a grudge!

UW-Green Bay Cheer Tryouts

The UW-Green Bay cheer squad will be conducting tryouts for the 2010-11 season in April. We are looking for talented young men and women who love exciting Packer games at Lambeau Field and exciting Phoenix basketball games. If you are interested, please contact Coach Ann Rodrian at for the exact dates and necessary forms. Guys, no previous cheer experience is necessary.

Admitted & Committed

Admitted students day was this past Friday, March 5th!

Students who have already been admitted for the fall ’10 semester had the opportunity to revisit and rediscover all of the wonderful and exciting things that UWGB has to offer them. Students participated in fun activities like basketball at the Kress, unlimited games at the Phoenix Club, and pictures in the University Bookstore display window while modeling their FREE t-shirt!