Traditions are a strong part of UW-Green Bay's identity. Whether it's soon-to-be grads pitching their worn footwear into the shoe tree, or alumni of all ages pitching in for a common cause, a long-standing music festival, or the Org Smorg recruitment extravaganza, a wealth of traditions combine the very best of what UW-Green Bay has to offer.
Alumni Reunion Days
Alumni Weekend is a new tradition starting in 2013, bringing UWGB grads back “home” for a weekend in fall. Typical activities include inflatables, Phoenix games, brunch with favorite faculty and staff, arts, music and more.
The Cofrin Memorial Arboretum forms a natural boundary of 290 acres surrounding the UW-Green Bay campus. Restoring Wisconsin’s resources is key; and walking, biking and skiing is a side benefit of the more than six miles of trails the campus community shares with the public.
Bash in the Stacks
Wisconsin’s award-winning Cofrin Library shows why it is adept at turning the tables on the old stereotype of libraries being quiet, serious places where librarians say “Shhhhhhhh” a lot. Bash in the Stacks, the annual fun and games night and library open house, is held each September to welcome back students. Past activities include tricycle races, Packers tailgating, sumo wrestling, mini-golf and more.
The UWGB Alumni Association serves up cold and refreshing water to thousands of runners each year at the annual Cellcom Green Bay Marathon. Giving back to the community is part of the Association’s mission.
Just minutes following their final congratulations at commencement, new graduates are greeted with cheers, fist bumps and high-fives to welcome them into the alumni family.
Since 1970, The Fourth Estate has been parlaying award-winning news, features and entertainment to UWGB. The first issue of the Fourth Mistake — an April Fool’s Edition that catches a few people off guard — dates back to 1974 and has been published sporadically through the years.
GB Nights is a once-per-month, after-hours event designed to enhance the quality of student life at UW-Green Bay during peak student social interaction times (10 p.m. to 1 a.m.). The free event includes art and crafts, dancing and music, food, entertainment and bling.
Alumni Scholarship Golf Outing
Years ago it was a small nine-hole event played at Shorewood Gold Course. By 2014 the annual Alumni Scholarship Golf Outing was at capacity and raising more than $15,000 for scholarships.
Started in the mid-90’s the Gravedancers Ball is a favorite UW-Green Bay Halloween tradition. A costume contest, DJ, dancing and free food are always part of the festivities sponsored by Good Time Programming.
Since 2012, UW-Green Bay has entered the annual Downtown Green Bay Holiday Parade. Parade-goers love mingling with the student-athletes and, of course, a generous contribution of candy that is handed out each year.
For more than 35 years the student International Club has hosted a popular University and community event — the International Dinner. UW-Green Bay’s international students choose the menu and provide recipes for preparation by UW-Green Bay food service. The students also entertain the audience with a fashion show and dance styles from England, Northern Ireland, Japan, India, Korea and China, among others.
Held once each semester, the Job & Internship Fair is an excellent opportunity for students to network and a great way for alumni to give back. Often it is a UW-Green Bay graduate who returns to campus to connect their employer with budding professionals.
This long-standing music festival has been bringing Jazz greats, former faculty, students, and alumni to campus annually for more than four decades, creating an enriching educational and entertainment opportunity for the community. Past performers include Bobby Shew, Lori Bell, Kenny Werner, and many more world-renowned artists.
Whether on campus, or in conjunction with a community partner, UWGB has been celebrating Kwanzaa for more than a decade. The African-American celebration based on the tradition of the African harvest festival, emphasizes community and cultural pride. Attendees enjoy music, dancing and food while learning about the holiday’s origins, rites and symbols.
Hundreds of faculty, staff and students greet nearly 600 of the University’s 800 or so new freshmen with a smile and a strong back at Move-In Day. Each year parent’s are amazed by UWGB’s friendliness.
It’s a recruitment extravaganza, and it’s history dates back decades. “Org Smorg” is an annual event to recruit students and build awareness of the many opportunities on campus. There are typically 100-plus organizations to choose from, or students can start their own.
Offbeat architectural flourishes and 1970s color schemes still persist in some areas of the UW-Green Bay campus, if you know where to look. Known as “People Pockets,” these small gathering areas were the genius of Founding Chancellor Edward Weidner and early architects to promote social interaction and a collaborative environment in small areas across campus.
The Phoenix Pep Band strives to energize the Phoenix basketball teams and provide energy and entertainment to fans. Any student who can play an instrument is welcome in the band. Especially popular with TV crews, the Band is know to play barefoot (demonstrating the need for a shoe contract), donned in Cheeseheads (letting the world know just where they hail from), or dressed in costume of color depending on the theme.
Cheering for the Phoenix athletics teams is easy. Men’s and women’s basketball is most popular, but all of the 15 NCAA D-I programs provide great entertainment and are a source of campus pride.
The UW-Green Bay Phone-a-thon began in 1997 as a way for the University to update alumni information and encourage contributions. Despite a drop in landlines, the Phone-a-thon serves as an essential part of UW-Green Bay’s Annual Fund and the more than 30,000 alumni respond generously.
It’s a program now modeled from coast-to-coast. The Phuture Phoenix program encourages disadvantaged and underrepresented students, starting at the fifth-grade level, to complete high school and attend college, thus boosting the percentage of NE Wisconsin graduates who continue on to college.
The Intertribal Student Council presents a Pow Wow on campus each year, often representing each of the six Indian Nations — Menominee, Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk, Oneida, Ojibwe and Mohican — located in Wisconsin.
Bell Ringing for Those in Need
The Alumni Association knows the value in giving back, and volunteers every December join the Salvation Army and its Red Kettle Campaign to raise money for those in need.
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 most have a tale to tell about it.