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The W Project Keeps UW Traditions Alive

“Varsity.” “Swingtown.” “Jump Around.” Fewer than two weeks ago, thousands of new students joined our Badger family. The Wisconsin Alumni Student Board took it upon itself to bring those new students up to speed on all of our crazy Game Day traditions — as well as one new one.

Evening of fun instills a strong sense of Badger spirit in new students.

Every great club or society has a set of rituals and traditions through which it transmits its identity. The worldwide community of Badgers is no exception.

Today’s incoming students are inculcated imbued with a sense of Badger spirit through the W Project. On the evening of September 2, more than 2,000 students gathered at Camp Randall Stadium (the first thousand even received The Red Shirt™, Eighth Edition). There, campus leaders addressed them, and the beloved UW Marching Band led them in learning the time-honored Fifth Quarter songs and their associated movements and gestures.

Wisconsin Alumni Student Board president and W Project organizer Kristen Grilli x’16 watched as the crowd of enthusiastic novices waved their arms and swayed.

“It is a privilege to bring students into Camp Randall prior to the first Game Day,” said Grilli. “For many of them, this is their first experience in the stadium.”

But the culmination of the novitiate ceremony was yet to come. The students were directed down onto the hallowed synthetic turf. There, on the gridiron, student leaders flailed their arms and shouted encouragingly to direct the neophytes into the shape of a giant W — the rite which gives the W Project its name.

“Although Camp Randall is nowhere near capacity,” said Grilli, “the energy in the stadium is still remarkable.”

Alumni can rest assured that the beloved traditions of their alma mater are safe in the hands of a new generation.

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