Will Veishea ever be the same?

Brian Stillman

I would first like to thank Dr. Seagrave for removing the Veishea pledge from next spring’s celebration. There had been much talk of removing the age-old tradition if the alcohol ban was left in place. While it was obvious that the student support of Veishea was decreasing dramatically over the past three years, it is not our right to put an end to a tradition that is greater than all of us.

As a young child my father brought me to Iowa State nearly every spring to take in the sights and sounds of the celebration. As an alumni of Iowa State, he took great pride in showing me everything he had loved about the school, as well as all of the changes that had been made around campus. I specifically remember the color and pageantry of the parade and the laughter we shared watching homemade boats trying to maneuver their way across lake Laverne.

This was my first exposure to Iowa State and helped to form my views of what student life on campus must be like. As I made my way into high school, my friends and I left Dad behind and began to experience Veishea on our own. While the things that I had seen as a child were still enjoyable, it was the introduction to the night life that totally blew us away.

It was one huge nonstop party from Thursday afternoon until Sunday morning. People who had never seen each other before were laughing and partying as far as the eye could see. These were some of the best times we had ever had in our young impressionable lives. We would return home at the end of the weekend and have amazing stories to tell all of our friends for weeks to come. It was these trips to Ames that had the greatest influence on me coming to Iowa State for school. Before I had ever taken the ACT or gone on a recruiting trip, my mind was set on Iowa State.

Unfortunately, as we were all getting excited about coming back to Veishea my junior year, we found out that the weekend was going to be alcohol-free. Our friends that went to school here at the time told us that there would be no point to coming down that year. Although we were seriously disappointed, I didn’t forgot how much fun we had the previous years, and stuck with my decision to attend Iowa State.

Skip forward to last year and the excitement of my freshman campaign. The year sailed along and I was having a great time. People told me how boring Veishea had been the past couple of years but I still believed in the fun and excitement of what I had experienced from years past. As Veishea weekend arrived, I watched as many of the people I knew loaded up and headed for Iowa City or Cedar Falls. They pleaded with me to come along, but I refused. I was convinced that I could have a good time even with all the restrictions. This was my biggest mistake of the year. Not only did I not have a good time, I was hit with complete boredom.

My friends and I walked up to Welch on Saturday night with high hopes. What we found was a giant food court with terrible music coming from a small stage. Was this the same place where I had seen cars overturned and couches on fire just four years earlier?

We returned home around ten o’clock that night and I was in bed by 10:30. This was probably the first time I had been in bed before midnight on a Saturday for three years. Not exactly the good times I remembered.

I vowed this year I would not make the same mistake and would head to Iowa City so I could have a good time. Then I read “Seagrave: No Veishea pledge.” My faith in the administration was restored, even if it did take an interim president. It is nice to see the student pleas were heard. Although it was noted that the details of Veishea are not completely worked out, it definitely was a good first step in the right direction.

Hopefully Veishea will return to the good times students had come to know over the years. It is a great part of the tradition of Iowa State and must live on forever.