Welcome to the jungle

Elton Wong

The Monday after last year’s Veishea, I believe the front page of this paper featured a photo of four police officers walking abreast down Welch Avenue. That one snapshot pretty much sums up the Veishea experience from the ISU students’ perspective. This is my third year at Iowa State, and I haven’t been in town once for this event.

When I was a kid growing up in Ames, Veishea was really cool. Our schools allowed us to skip class on Friday to come check out cool chemistry demonstrations of stuff being blown up. When you got tired of that you could go have some cherry pie and relax on the campus green. Yummy. When you’re a sixth grader, explosions and pie are about all you need to keep you satisfied.

The love of explosions and pie is still maintained in college, but let’s be honest.

The real reason students like Veishea is the excuse to party for three straight days, show up in class Monday morning basically unconscious, and have everybody understand. Since I’ve been a freshman at this school, however, Veishea has been dry, a trend which has strangely coincided with a mass exodus of students to Iowa City for the weekend. The overall population level of Ames remains unaffected, however, because of the large influx of policemen.

Yeah, I think it’s pretty silly that most students won’t stick around to celebrate their campus unless there is the promise of obscene amounts of alcohol. At the same time though, the administration hasn’t done a very good job of offering alternative activities. The past three years, there have been constant promises to bring in big name entertainment, but based on student response, this hasn’t been very effective.

It’s always been muttered that the administration would like nothing better than to see Veishea die and many students agree. Students dislike Veishea because it isn’t very fun, and the administration doesn’t like it because it isn’t very profitable. However, there is the obvious fact that Veishea is a tradition that is almost as old as this university and something that we should not let die too easily.

This dilemma was a personal source of puzzlement until I read in the paper a few weeks ago that Krispy Kreme doughnuts were going to be sold in Ames. Like a bolt of lightning, the idea formed in my head.

Now, before I explain my plan, let me discuss the nature of Veishea. Veishea is basically divided into two parts — the legitimate daytime activities that everyone can participate in and the questionable nighttime activities that are no longer allowed. I think that students would still enjoy the legit activities if only they didn’t have the expectation that they were going to have a fun evening in Ames. The administration could say “we’ll allow you to have fun visiting department demonstrations and eating pie on Friday, but you’re on your own in the evening and on the weekend.”

So, you’re asking, what is going to happen during the weekend, what’s going to happen at night? The answer is obvious: a police officers’ convention. Think about it. This solution is pleasing to everybody. The ISU students get to enjoy Iowa City with a lower police presence, because they (the officers, not the students) will be in Ames at the convention.

The administration will be happy because they’ll get to host a bunch of people who are very obedient, unlikely to break the law and many of them would be in town anyway. The officers will be happy because Kum & Go will provide them with infinite reserves of tasty tasty Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

This is the very definition of a win-win situation. I mean, why hasn’t the administration thought of this sooner?

It has a certain ring to it don’t you think? Veishea: Celebrating Iowa State and Law Enforcement. It’s pretty much the unofficial motto of the event anyway.

So all we need to do is plan. We should keep a small contingent of trouble-making students in town, just so the police will have people to arrest, so the administration can justify the ultimatums it keeps giving the students.

Maybe it could be like some kind of training seminar for young officers like “how to arrest a 200-pound frat guy carrying a keg and wearing nothing but saran wrap.” You know, it’ll be like a field-exercise kind of thing, only the officers will use Welch as their training ground.

This way, the proud tradition of Veishea will live on, albeit in slightly altered form. That’s nothing to get too worked up about; things change all the time. That’s just my suggestion anyway. I’ve tossed my idea around a bit.

A former Veishea Executive Committee member I talked to said, “I encourage all ideas as to what we can do to improve Veishea.” If this isn’t a glowing endorsement of my idea, I don’t know what is.

In the meantime, have a safe, fun weekend, and please don’t do anything that will restrict our Veishea privileges in the future. Also, check out the battle of the bands this evening, too. There are some great bands playing that have put a lot of hard work into their stuff. It’ll be a cool time for everyone.

After the explosions and pie on Friday, we can all meet up again in Iowa City. The best thing of all is that the freshest Krispy Kremes come from the Des Moines store, and that’s pretty much on the way.

Elton Wong is a junior in biology and philosophy from Ames.