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Columns Votes

Alumni Vote - September 2007

Memories Still Fresh From Freshman Year

It may have been last year—or it may have been 50 years ago—but UW alumni still cherish memories of their freshman experience. About 60 alumni responded to the September Columns Vote asking what was their “most memorable” experience in their first year at the UW.

For many alumni, it was “friends, football and faculty” that they remembered the best. Others said the size of the campus made a lasting first impression. Then there were some who wrote about how they met their future spouse that memorable year.

What follows is a selection of responses.

• My most memorable experience was just the size of the campus. … I was late to my very first class at the UW because of being lost. But it did not take me long to learn my way around. What a beautiful campus!

• I remember the free doughnuts and coffee in Red Square at 8 a.m. on my first day of class at UW. And listening to the bells at Denny Hall as I went to class.

• The most memorable experience for me was UW football games as a student, standing in the student section, learning the “other” version of the UW fight song. Tearing up our free programs and throwing the shards of confetti-like paper after every touchdown. And the chills I got when I heard “HELLO DAWG FANS” followed by the booming air raid siren for the first time as a frosh. … Little did I know the girl I went to the game with is now the girl I plan on marrying.

• Living in the dorms and meeting my (now) husband across the hall. It was the most fun I’ve had in my life.

• Having to type letter- and grammar-perfect term papers on an IBM Selectric and not make any mistakes—or use Liquid Paper—because one of the teachers threatened an F if we did have errors.

• Being in a Freshman Interest Group was the memory that I remember most. I am still friends with some of the people I met there. Looking back, I think of it as a very valuable experience to integrate me into the UW community.

• I headed up to the fourth floor of Haggett and knocked on my assigned dorm room door. I didn’t really expect anybody to answer so imagine my shock when the door opened and there stood a 6-foot-tall blonde female. The only thing I remember saying was, “So, you must be my new roommate.” This girl ended up being one of the original punk rockers on the Ave. She had a real presence about her. She dressed like a punk rocker back when that was anything but the norm. She was also a highly talented athlete, swimming for the UW all four years. We had a lot of fun together and I treasure her friendship to this day.

• My biggest thrill was being invited to chat after classes with my political science professor, Fouad Ajami. When I showed up a couple days later, the sofa in his office was already a place filled with fellow students. He unselfishly shared opinions and listened to us. For a small town Bremerton-boy like myself this was eye-opening! He is now famous among Middle Eastern scholars and I couldn’t be happier.

• It was during the era of Vietnam War protests. When I arrived on campus that first week, I found that students were barricading the entire campus! Students were standing with their arms linked, forming a living circle around the perimeter of the campus. I was so naive—I didn’t know what to do and how I was supposed to get to my first classes. Of course, the protesting students allowed me through and I did find my way to my classes. But it was a scary and turbulent time.

• There was a general campus strike in protest of the Vietnam War and, when a student demonstration on South Campus turned unruly, the Seattle Police Department broke up the assembly and drove students off campus and along N.E. 40th Street. Some of the students tried to elude the police by entering the lobby of Lander Hall. We dormies were fearful that the police would invade the dormitory following the demonstrators. It was a very tense moment, and one that made me think deeply about our precious civil liberties.

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