Purple Pride

Alyssa Brooks, Staff Reporter

475 gallons.

That is how much paint is used on Warhawk Drive at the beginning of each school year. First Year Experience (FYE) hosts ‘Warhawk Welcome’ to help incoming freshmen adapt to UW-W.

Painting Warhawk Drive purple is a yearly tradition that started in 2008, and over 20,000 students have contributed over the years. The ‘R U Purple’ event won best freshman event for the Best Of Whitewater 2019.

To close out Warhawk Welcome, students rally through Perkins Stadium and exit through the home gate to signify their new home. They spread out in groups from where the road starts near Perkins Stadium to just south of the Williams Center.

“This tradition provides a shared experience, a sense of belonging and introduction into the campus pride and spirit,” said First Year Experience Director Beth John.

Two of the FYE goals that pertain to meeting new people are transition and connect.

Transitioning to a new place can be scary and exciting for first-year and transfer students. As a transfer student orientation leader, peer mentor Meredith Huber says that when she got to paint the road as a student it helped her open up. As a campus leader, she loves sharing this experience with new transfer students.

“Painting the road helps students adapt and feel comfortable at Whitewater,” Huber said. “Interacting and sharing the experience of painting asphalt purple is a surprisingly effective ice breaker.”

An event like painting the road helps students transition into a new environment together and help students build friendships and connections.

“Everyone is excited, and they’re familiarizing themselves with campus,” Graduate Assistant for Orientation Programs Caitlyn Kiger said.

“Students are getting a sense of their newfound Warhawk pride.”

When people hear about UW-W, painting the road may be one of the most talked about events that students enjoy most.

“I went to a football game at Perkins Stadium when I was 11, and a family friend who was a student at the time showed me around campus. He told me about painting the road, and I thought it was the craziest thing, but it shows the pride and passion with being a Warhawk,” freshman student Carson Seeber said.

Warhawk Drive is a staple on campus, and painting it is a favorite event among incoming freshmen. It is a unique experience that symbolizes the unity as a student class and leaving a mark.

“It’s cool how everyone contributes to the common goal,” Seeber said. “Not just a single person or campus organization, but the whole freshman class fuels a tradition.”