Fall into the local autumn spirit

Autumn Spirit

The changing leaves and crisp air have those on campus reaching for comfy sweaters, stopping in at the nearest Starbucks to grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte and cozying up near the fire while watching Sunday Night Football games. That’s right, fall is upon us.

While partaking in these activities is a natural reaction for many when the cool fall weather hits, there are plenty of other ways to fully indulge in the fall spirit. Whether you are looking for something artsy, active or relaxing, here are five fall-themed, and fully Instagrammable, things to do to celebrate the fall season.


Find the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

The quintessential fall outing involves picking your own pumpkin, preferably at a local farm. Stopping by Target or Pick’n Save may be the easy option when it comes to snagging a pumpkin to spice up your apartment, but local farms such as Schuster’s and Treinen offer acres upon acres of pumpkins to choose from. If making your way off campus to a local farm is not in the cards, consider stopping by the Dane County Farmer’s Market on a Saturday morning as pumpkins and gourds are beginning to pop up at various vendors. Be sure to customize your pumpkin by either painting or carving it at home!

Get Lost in a Corn Maze

Have you ever wanted to get lost in the eyes of a true stud, Bucky Badger? Well, now you can. This year, local family farm Enchanted Valley Acres shaped their corn maze in the image of the beloved Bucky Badger. If you’re not confident in your abilities to make it out of the big corn maze, they also offer a smaller, one-acre maze, for those who may not be the best at directions. General admission to Enchanted Valley Acres is $10, which includes access to hayrides, their giant slide and of course, their Bucky corn maze.

Pick the Perfect Apple

Fall means that local apple orchards are bursting with seasonal apples just waiting to be picked. Whether you are looking for a single apple or a brimming bag full, local farms and apple orchards are the best place to shop during the fall. A few apple orchards near campus include Jones Orchard, Eplegaarden and Bickler’s Apple Farm. Local farms offer a variety of apples, but if you are looking for a specific type, be sure to check their produce varieties before visiting. To save you the time, Jones Orchard and Green’s Pleasant Springs Orchard currently offer Honeycrisp apples. You’re welcome.

Did Someone Say “Pie”?

Now that you have had the chance to pick your pumpkins and gather your apples, there is no excuse not to call up your mom to get her favorite pie recipes. Fall baking is the best as apple and pumpkin pies are staple treats. Whether you are baking alone or with friends, the sweet smells that fill your kitchen are reason enough to budget the two hours it may take to prepare and bake your sweet treats. As Friends-Giving nears, you will be the star of the meal as you dazzle your friends with your pie-baking skills.

Get Spooky

For all you thrill seekers, fall is your season to thrive. ‘Tis the season to get spooky and as we near Halloween, there are tons of haunted houses and trails to visit. Just south of campus, visit Horror in the Dark at Olin Park, a local haunted house. Or, if you are up for a drive and in the mood for some realistic zombies, make your way to Wisconsin Scaryland in Waunakee. Wisconsin Scaryland is a live-actor haunt, truly meant to make you scream. It is not for the faint of heart. For the rest of us, a scary movie streamed at the Marquee at Union South may be the perfect balance of thrill instead. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Shaun of the Dead (2004) and The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) all play throughout the month of October.

Get your sweat on, sans the SERF

PLAY TO WIN PLAY TO BE THE BEST JUST DO IT

Nearly a month has passed since the University’s beloved SERF closed its doors and said farewell until 2020. Gone are the beloved basketball courts, cardio room and pool that served as the central workout facility for the Southeast community.

Since the SERF officially closed on August 18, many students have been at a loss as to where to go to get their workouts in. Despite the closing of the SERF, there are plenty of other options both on and near campus to get your sweat on.

Ogg Hall Fitness Center

To help fill the gap that the SERF left in the Southeast community, Rec Sports transformed the main lounge of Ogg Hall into the Ogg Hall Fitness Center. Complete with a variety of cardio machines, free weights and weight machines, the newest fitness center accommodates a variety of workouts. Doors to Ogg Hall are open during the Fitness Center hours, but be aware that the Fitness Center closes on Badger Football home game days.

The Natatorium

The Nat is one of the busiest workout facilities on campus due to the closing of the SERF. Whether you’re looking to play basketball or badminton, hit the cardio or weight rooms, or go for a swim in the eight-lane pool, it is all possible at the Nat. The Nat also now serves as the primary facility for Group Fitness classes.

The Shell

Officially known as the Camp Randall Sports Center, the Shell is a good option for those living in the Southeast neighborhood who are not looking to make the cross-campus trek to the Nat. The Shell offers various places to work out, including four basketball courts, an indoor track, weight lifting machines and a few cardio machines. If you’re looking for a “chiller” workout, look no further. The Shell also boasts an ice rink and skates are available to rent. Like the Ogg Hall Fitness Center, the Shell closes its doors on Badger Football home game days.

The Nielsen Tennis Stadium

A well-kept Rec Sports secret, the Nielsen Tennis Stadium is located just past the Nat and serves all your tennis and squash needs. The facility has both indoor and outdoor tennis courts, making it easy to play year-round. The 80 bus stops a short walk away from the facility, so there really is no excuse not to venture out to play a match.

The Near West Fields

The opening of the Near West Fields marked the completion of the first project for the Rec Sports Master Plan—a plan for new recreational facilities on campus for the next 50 years. Synthetic turf covers nearly seven acres of land that is usable for flag football, soccer, lacrosse, rugby, baseball and softball games.

Anytime Fitness

Located above Walgreens on East Campus Mall, Anytime Fitness is a great option if you’re looking for a place to get in a cardio or lifting workout at any time of the day. The space has cardio machines, free weights and weight machines. To see if Anytime Fitness is the right fit for you, apply for a free, seven day pass online.

Kamps Fitness

Look no further for a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout that will kick you into shape. Located below the Hub, Kamps Fitness offers a variety of group fitness classes ranging from upper and lower body to core and arms. And, if you need more incentive to get your sweat on, Bachelorette favorite Peter Kraus serves as one of the seven trainers at Kamps Fitness.

Southwest Commuter and Lakeshore Paths

Run, walk or bike on either of the two paths that wind their way through campus. The Lakeshore Path is a great option if you’re looking for a scenic jog along the lake. Meanwhile, the Southwest Commuter Path stretches well beyond the confines of campus. If you don’t own a bike, rent one from one of the Madison BCycle stations scattered throughout campus.

Inner Fire Yoga

Slow things down, while getting a great workout at Inner Fire Yoga. Whether you are a yoga novice or pro, Inner Fire Yoga offers a variety of classes — including hot yoga. Your first class is free, so if you’re not sure if yoga is for you, test out a class at Inner Fire.

Jonah Beleckis’ letter to the editor

jonah-beleckis-letter-to-the-editor

I stumbled upon Jonah Beleckis’ column “Letter to the editor: UW-Madison’s alcohol culture alienates non-drinkers” last spring while scheduling my posts for the Daily Cardinal’s Twitter account. As a member of the social media team, I would often times simply skim through the articles and quickly move on to create my caption. This article stopped me in my tracks.

“Hello, my name is Jonah.”

Beleckis hooked me from his opening line, pushing me to read further as if the title of the column itself had not already peaked my interest.

As a college student who has never had a sip of alcohol in my life, it is often difficult for me to find voices on campus that see things from the same lense as I do. Because of this, Beleckis’ column really connected with me. His experience as a student at UW-Madison who is a non-drinker is different from my own of course, but I relate to many of the situations that he discusses.

Beleckis recalls times where professors would make jokes about weekend antics, insinuating alcohol consumption, or times where he found himself standing in a packed Camp Randall crowd listening to the chants of “We! Want! More! Beer!” coming from the students around him. These are all common occurrences that most students on campus have experienced and can relate to. Few can attest to being uncomfortable with the casualness in which behavior involving alcohol is tossed around on the UW-Campus. Like Jonah, I know this feeling and relate.

Jonah really made me question UW-Madison’s drinking culture when he told the story of the first party he attended freshman year. He went to a house party where a cup of wop or beer or “whatever” was $5, the usual entrance fee on campus.

“My friend and I weren’t drinking, and after we informed the makeshift bouncer, he scoffed as if his bravado were up to peer review and asked me, ‘Why would you come to a house party and not drink?’ I bit my tongue and paid for an empty cup. We all make sacrifices to be accepted, right?”

Jonah’s final line from this paragraph, “We all make sacrifices to be accepted, right?” really stuck with me. No matter if you are a non-drinker or not, there are times in every person’s life where decisions are made in order to be accepted or fit the norm. He challenges the reader here to relate to his piece, whether they consume alcohol or not, and continue to read on.

To test the reader’s views on UW-Madison’s drinking culture even more, Beleckis provides statistics on binge-drinking specific to UW-Madison from Reonda Washington, the University Health Services Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Coordinator. One of the most alarming facts from Washington that Beleckis chooses to highlight, is that fifty percent of UW-Madison’s undergrads are considered “high-risk drinkers.”

This sounds fine, until Beleckis informs the reader that other UW-System schools reported 35 percent and that the national average was 36 percent. That puts in perspective how extreme UW-Madison’s drinking culture is compared to other universities.

I wish that he had provided more statistics on students that drink on campus versus those who do not. At the same time, I understand that there is most likely a lack of data on this subject but it would have been interesting to see more data on students that choose not to drink in his article.

Beleckis leaves a lasting impression when he encourages his readers to respect each other’s limits and differences.

“I’ve said no to a drink many more times than I’ve Jumped Around. I believe there are others on this campus who choose to say no, who might even have a harder time saying no.”
Through this column, Beleckis gives a voice to others on campus that are in the same or a similar situation as he is. He reminds those who struggle, or who feel isolated, that they are not alone on campus. Because of this, he makes it a personal and difficult article for one to forget.

Jonah Beleckis’ original article can be found here: http://www.dailycardinal.com/article/2016/04/letter-to-the-editor-uw-madisons-alcohol-culture-alienates-non-drinkers 

This blog post was original published on meganottoblog.wordpress.com as an assignment for Journalism 202 at UW-Madison.