Esquire Theme by Matthew Buchanan
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05

Apr

Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.
Rollo May— existential psychologist 
This is a picture of college library.  One of the libraries on campus at UW Madison that is mentioned as a community space in my interview with Chongjian Wen.
Picture by photos.uc.wisc.edu

This is a picture of college library.  One of the libraries on campus at UW Madison that is mentioned as a community space in my interview with Chongjian Wen.

Picture by photos.uc.wisc.edu

Image originally from UWBadgers.com
This is the Camp Randall stadium that is referred to in my interview with Chongjian Wen below.

Image originally from UWBadgers.com

This is the Camp Randall stadium that is referred to in my interview with Chongjian Wen below.

31

Mar

We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.

Aldo Leopold

The Restaurants. The Nightlife. The fun. State Street

            When people on campus are asked to name one of their favorite places to go in Madison many instantly say State Street.  As a road that connects the campus of the University of UW-Madison to the Capitol of the City, this street creates a sense of community by bringing the university’s students together with the city of Madison’s residents.  One of the main reasons this street is so well loved among citizens and students alike is because of a popular event the street holds named Freakfest.  Over the years Freakfest has undergone many changes, which has improved the quality, the behavior of attendees, and the mess that the street has been left with in some years.  In an article by Carl Agnelly called “Freakfest 2008 Ends Peacefully,” he shares many Madison community members’ views on how Freakfest’s cleanliness has improved over the years. 

            This article is obviously directed towards members who live on the UW Madison Campus community.  In the article, the author refers to places that only people who live in Madison would recognize like the statement, “there was litter on Library Mall (Agnelly).”  If a reader did not have any prior knowledge of Madison Streets, they would not know that Library Mall was not a Library or a Mall, but a pathway that connected the end of State Street to Park Street.  Also many people who are not from the Madison area may not even understand what Freakfest is about since Agnelly does not give an adequate description of the event.   

            This wonderful event sells a considerable number of tickets to students at UW Madison. For this reason, it makes sense that the article is accessible online.  Students spend a majority of their time on the Internet with all the social media out there (like tumblr!).  Although the article may not contain information the would directly real a student in, such as information on who is performing, by putting the article online students will come across it because the title contains “Freakfest.”

            Even though the author’s words and medium work well together to get the purpose of the article across, the layout of the article is not so flattering.  Freakfest, as we all know, is a crazy event that everyone enjoys.  The small picture in the corner of the article barely scratches the surface of how much happens at the event.  The location of the picture also is not eye-catching at all.  When a reader arrives at the page, they are faced with a mountain of text that does not have any variation in size and color.  For online sites, the more the author pays attention to these details the easier he can get his point across.

            With all of these inter parts of the article working together the author adequately effectively conveys the purpose of article to residents of on the UW Madison campus.  This was written mainly to inform the people of them how attendees of Freakfest have improved their treatment towards State Street.  Freakfest is an event created by the city for the community.  While reading how the occupants of Madison have improved their behavior overall and kept State Street cleaner during this event, it made me feel that people truly appreciate this community space.  It demonstrates that the Madison community understands that availability of that place for an event such as Freakfest is a privilege, and a fortunate thing. 

 As Lasecki expresses in the article, “I think it’s important to take care of our city and where we live, and I think it gives a good image of Madison as well (Agnelly).”  The city of Madison did more than construct a plan for citizens to follow.  Through the common love of this event, Madison was able to affectively communicate to the citizens that it was their responsibility to take care of the city and improve their behavior, so the whole community could continue to benefit from this event.  In comparison to the den, and other places such as Camp Randall, a band-aid is not just put over the problem, but the inner problem is fixed through communication.

image

State Street during Freakfest!

Image from cityofmadison.com

These are some photos that demonstrate the condition of the dens. I think an further explanation is unnecessary.

pictures by me 

Adventure into two of CRC’s Jungles!

         (Before reading my about experience in the Chadbourne dens be sure to read the post below)

          As I carefully tiptoed into the 10th floor den of Chadbourne, I was cautious to avoid stepping onto any of the bits of food lying all over the floor.  Upon a closer inspection, I was able to distinguish the chucks as broken popcorn, noodle pieces, and cut up vegetables.  This was a peculiar sight.  I knew that every den’s floor was vacuumed Monday through Friday.  Presently it was Sunday, which meant that in two days, a previously spotless floor was destroyed.  Venturing further into the jungle of a den, I couldn’t help but notice the familiar noodle bits that covered the ground spread across several tables.   Of the remaining tables, only one seemed clean while the others were caked in flour or had dirty containers placed upon them.  Tables that were commonly used for eating and studying currently served neither function.  Not a single person on the whole floor was using the den’s tables.  As stated before, today was a Sunday.  Surely people were studying somewhere: if not here, then where?  With the inconvenience of the messy den were the floors residents forced to seek other places to study at?  On a cold day like today no one would voluntarily want to take a long trek to the library.

            After entering the inner kitchen area, I did not need to investigate closely to discover many health flaws.  The sink consisted of numerous unclean dishes with chopped green onions clogging the drain.  Although I had no idea how long the mess had been left that way, there was a distinct smell that informed me it had been left that way for while.  Against my better judgment, I dug deeper and chose to open the door of the fridge.  This was a decision I would regret.  Multiple rotten foods were left in containers, forgotten.  With so many forgotten messes how could anyone feel cleaning their dishes here was sanitary?  Many of this floor’s occupants probably were forced to travel to a different floor’s den or use the bathroom sink.  This floor obviously showed no concern for each other’s shared space.  They also chose not to communicate with each other respectfully to find a solution.

            After concluding my venture into 10th floor’s den, I opened the door to the den on 11th floor.  Thankfully, I had no reason to watch every step I took.  Food did not cover the floor of den or the tables like the previous floor.  I felt like this den may actually be a fine community space that was kept up well until a saw a box labeled the “box of shame.”  This box held the items that were left out without being cleaned for too long.  Peering in, I suddenly was face to face with one the grossest dishes I have seen in my life- a bowl with a rotten egg siting inside it.  It seemed unfathomable that someone could just leave without cleaning that up.  But someone did, and the whole floor had to deal with it. 

            Lifting my gaze from the “box of shame,” I turned my head to a note that was written on the white board.  It read, “Whoever makes a mess, clean it up! PS- fuck you.”  The messenger did not leave their name, but it did not seem necessary to.  Written below the note were words of agreement from more anonymous floor members who also wanted the kitchen cleaned up.

            With all of these messages of disapproval, it seemed that keeping a clean kitchen should be an easy task compared to the indifference on the previous floor.  For some reason though, it remained almost as messy.  A large percentage of this floor’s residents (the percentage that continuously made the mess) displayed that they did not care that their fellow residents condemned their uncleanly actions.

             Dens were created in Chadbourne as a place where community was supposed to be built. Presently, each den represents how members of a community can choose to disrespect a shared space and each other’s wishes.  With this attitude in a mothered environment where most messes are cleaned up, how will we students, as future adult members of society, survive when we become apartment owners?  Adults today have to learn to show respect towards their neighbors in many different ways to keep harmony in the living environment.  When disagreements result between members in a community, it is better to talk face to face and solve a problem than ignore it and let it grow.    

          A community in itself is a group of people who interact with each other and live in a shared environment.  Of the many different interactions that members of a community can have, the most common is direct communication.  Communication is a simple way for members of a community to learn about and increase respect for each other.   When people have respect for each other, they are more sensitive to each other’s feelings.  In this situation, if the residents on each floor in Chadbourne effectively communicate their feelings face-to-face, than they could be more willing to take responsibility in helping the entire floor.          

          Additionally, at a larger level, it is obvious that communication is the solution to solving many of the problems that have arisen here at UW regarding shared places.  For example, when many citizens of Madison realized that the mess created on State Street by Freakfest was a problem, the representatives of the city got together, talked through a plan that would decrease the mess, and implemented it.  The outcome of the enforcement of that plan has positively reflected the city through the fewer beer cans lying on the street during and after Freakfest in recent years.  It is impossible to force someone to throw a beer can away, but when citizens collectively take the time to inform others why minimizing litter helps the community as a whole, people become more inclined to do so.  Hopefully, through enhanced direct communication between each floor’s members, a successful plan can be implemented someday to put an end to messy dens.

 

How IS a Community built in Dorms?

Most of us students here on campus have heard of Chadbourne Residential College (CRC).  If you can’t quite recall the name let me give you a quick visual reminder—it is that tall building at the bottom of Bascom across from Humanities. As one of the many living accommodations offered for students at UW Madison, it has many unique features that help each floor develop a community.  One of these features is a common shared space known as the den.  For Chadborne, the den is a beloved place where each floor’s residents are given the ability to chat, eat, study, and cook on the comfort of their own floor. For many other dorms, I have noticed that the den can be located solely on one floor of the dorm (typically the basement).  When college students grow sick of eating premade food all the time, this is a place that should be cherished and taken care of since it is used so often.  Unfortunately, after living dorm life in Chadbourne, I know this is not always the case.  Sometimes even college students have a hard time remembering to clean up after themselves. Therefore to show how a small population of UW Madison students treats their community space, I have decided that I will make observations of two floors in Chad—stay tuned!