What Is The Pink Flamingo?

We have been writing this electronic newsletter for more than five years now, and we sometimes forget that students may not know what it is or why it has an admittedly strange name. The publication we affectionately refer to as “the PF” is the official newsletter of the HUD and PSYCH units. It’s sent out about once a month to all majors and minors. Co-edited by Drs. Vespia, Martin, and Burns, we try to provide updates on what’s happening in the unit, good news about student and faculty accomplishments, advising assistance, and regular features on topics like careers and graduate school. Why do we call it The Pink Flamingo? Well, you can read the long version of that story by clicking the “PF Legend” link under “Topics” on the side of the blog page. The short answer is that Dr. Illene Cupit brought in the first of what became a whole flock of pink plastic flamingos to decorate the faculty office suite in MAC Hall, and it’s become a sort of mascot for the department. Take a look sometime – you’ll see that most of them are decorated in various ways, and they have been anonymously bestowed upon various faculty members to celebrate special events or just to reflect our own unique sense of humor. And you didn’t even know we had one, did you?

Flamingos Around the World

In honor of the beginning of our sixth year of publication and to further display our love of all things flamingo, let’s close this issue with a great flamingo-themed photo captured by co-editor and photo-journalist Dr. Ryan Martin while on assignment. If you have your own flamingo photo and want some fame and glory in a future issue, feel free to send it to one of the editors. We assume, by the way, that anytime we see something like the Flamingo Café, they have named their establishment after us, the clearly world-famous Pink Flamingo newsletter.

The Pink Flamingo Legend: Dr. Wilson-Doenges and the Flamingo Queen

As regular readers know, HUD/PSYCH faculty members like decorating plastic flamingos and leaving them outside their colleagues’ offices (see the PF Legend archive for the story so far). When we last left you, Dr. Martin was being mercilessly teased by his colleagues with a Packer flamingo. However, he persevered, and we at The Pink Flamingo are impressed by his tenacity. In honor of her upcoming February birthday, this month we bring you to the story of Dr. Wilson-Doenges and the Flamingo Queen. 

You see, two years ago, the Chair of the Psychology Department, Dr. Wilson-Doenges, was celebrating an important birthday and expressed an interest in being Queen for the Day.  Never mind that those of us who work for her (i.e., her “underlings”) think of her as the Queen every day.  Her request was granted, as any royal command would be, and she was given the beautiful flamingo displayed here. You will notice that it is complete with a tiara and a sash that reads “Queen Georjeanna.” She was also given a wand that she brandishes when we get out of line, and she has already expressed an interest in being “Empress for the Day” when she hits her next milestone birthday. There’s no need to bow or curtsy the next time you see her, but she may respond if you call her “Your Majesty.”

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The Legend of The Pink Flamingo: The Packer Flamingo

Regular PF readers will remember the story of how all those pink plastic creatures ended up outside faculty offices in the C Wing. If you’re curious, check out our archive (click on PF Legend under our Topics heading). In a nutshell, we now create specially decorated flamingos to honor our colleagues or to celebrate special events in their lives. This year, our PF Legend series will focus on profiling specific faculty flamingos.

Many of you have probably noticed the beautifully decorated Green Bay Packer flamingo outside Dr. Martin’s office. You probably also assumed it was there because of his undying affection for the Green and Gold. Well…not so much. In fact, although we all believed when he interviewed that, because of his educational roots with the University of Southern Mississippi, he would be a Favre fan and Packer Backer, his ties to his home state of Minnesota were apparently stronger. With heavy hearts, the PF investigative reporting team is sad to announce that soon after he arrived at UWGB, the faculty uncovered incontrovertible evidence that Dr. Martin is indeed…a Vikings’ fan. Rather than accept Dr. Martin as one of the gang despite his support for the Vikings, HUD/PSYCH has been working tirelessly to try and convert him by providing him with all sorts of Packer paraphernalia. To date, he has been graciously given a Packer banner, Packer notepaper, “Favre Bucks,” and the decorated flamingo shown below. Amazingly, he doesn’t see the flamingo as an object of affection and has even accidentally knocked it over from time to time. Of course, we all know what Freud said about accidents.

Dr. Martin’s Flamingo

The Legend of the Pink Flamingo Continues (Episode III – “Revenge of the Flamingo”)

When we ended our last installment of The Legend of the Pink Flamingo, Dr. Illene Noppe had just presented the very first departmental flamingo to Twila. Twila grew so fond of it that she didn’t want to give it back, so Dr. Noppe had to buy another one to put outside her own office (that’s when they started to multiply!). Eventually, beginning a trend of marking “special events” with flamingos, that one showed up outside Dr. Vespia’s home with a “get well soon” sign after her knee surgery. That thoughtful gift started a game much like “hot potato” because, well, let’s just say that initially not everyone shared Dr. Noppe’s enthusiasm for the plastic creatures. If you received a flamingo, the only way to get rid of it was to think of another faculty member and special event to “honor” with it (leading to the catchy new term “getting flamingoed”). Dr. Vespia passed hers on to Dr. Gurung, and it became the first fully costumed bird. She and Twila decorated it with a grass skirt, lei, sunglasses, and flip-flops to welcome him back from a conference in Hawaii (admittedly stretching the definition of “special event”). How did these birds become objects of love instead of “hot potatoes”? What’s up with the Packer flamingo by Dr. Martin’s office and the one dressed as “Queen Georjeanna”? You’ll have to wait for the next installment of The Legend of the Pink Flamingo.

The Legend of The Pink Flamingo: The Saga Continues

We know some readers have been on the edge of their seats waiting for the second installment of The Legend of The Pink Flamingo.  So…what happened after Dr. Illene Noppe asked her son for a pink flamingo for Mother’s Day? He bought her one!  (Please don’t ask why she wanted one in the first place – we think that’s a question only she can answer.) Dr. Noppe then made the mistake of sharing her Mother’s Day dream with Twila, our Academic Department Associate, who responded by saying, “Great – just as long as you don’t bring it to the office!”  Well, Dr. Noppe couldn’t just ignore that challenge, could she? Wouldn’t your feathers have been ruffled? The very first flamingo in the wing, therefore, was one that showed up on Twila’s office chair, facing her computer, with a beautiful “HI TWILA” sign hanging around its neck. How did that turn into a whole flock of beautifully decorated flamingos? More on that in our next issue…

The Legend of The Pink Flamingo

First, why is this newsletter called The Pink Flamingo, you might ask?  Students who have visited faculty offices in the C Wing already know the answer.  For those of you who haven’t seen the pink plastic “lawn ornaments” outside the offices of Drs. Gurung, Martin, L. Noppe, Von Dras, and Wilson-Doenges, come up and take a look.  How do these beautifully dressed/decorated creatures appear?  Some suspect Twila, our Academic Department Associate.  Some think it’s Dr. Gurung, who, as always, in turn blames Dr. Martin.  Some even suspect it’s a poltergeist (maybe, more accurately, a “poultry”-geist), but no one knows for sure.  Actually, it all started when Dr. Illene Noppe asked her son for a pink flamingo for Mother’s Day…. Want to know more?  You’ll have to wait for the next issue of The Pink Flamingo.