UWEC History

“The Age of Dancing”: 3-8-15

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Edited By: Alyssa Anderson

 

On the March 8th broadcast of Blugold Radio, WUEC 89.7 FM, Christina Butcher presented “The Age of Dancing”. Butcher, through various interviews, illustrated the important role dance and dance culture played in the lives of Eau Claire alumni. Butcher’s interviews not only provide a clear representation of Blugold life in the 1940’s, but also show how different us modern-day Blugolds are.

1942 graduate of the Eau Claire State Teachers College, Dorothy Carpenter, explains that dance was a large part of life during the 1940’s. Carpenter claims her and her peers would dance three to four times a week. Various places in Eau Claire put on dances, garnering large crowds of college students. Though it was easy to find a place to dance your heart out in Eau Claire, one dance hall was a favorite among the youth. “The Hoot”, located out by Lake Halley, was the ultimate destination for a Saturday night. Countless college students gathered at this beloved dance hall for a night of drinking, dancing and socializing. And, if they were lucky, some even found themselves a romantic partner. Butcher continues to explain that dancing played an important role in 1940’s culture, especially for Blugolds. Student culture and social life revolved around dancing. Dancing allowed stressed-out college students to unwind, socialize and have a bit of fun for a change.

Nearly the entire youth population of the 1940’s was engrossed in dance culture, so what happened to it? What do modern-day college students do for fun? The statistics of a 2011 study by the Bureau of Labor indicates that teens spend less than an hour per weekday engaging in recreational activities. The cause of this depressing statistic is an obvious one: technology. According to an article found on huffingtonpost.com, young people spend an estimated seven and a half hours a day consuming media-whether it be listening to music, watching T.V, or scrolling through Facebook. 1940’s teenagers did not have the luxury of smartphones; they had to discover their own means of entertainment. Instead of sitting in their dorm rooms binge-watching Netflix, college students during the 40’s chose to go out and dance. An article on pewresearch.org explains that 94% of college students go online daily, or more than once a day. Advancements in the technological world have made huge impacts within our society, some good and some bad. When walking down the hall of any dorm building, you will most likely see more students sitting in front of the television or computer screen instead of actually socializing with each other.

The youth of the 1940’s built their social life around the dance scene. Young people used dance as a way to relax, socialize and engage with their peers. With this fact in mind, turn off your phones this weekend. Shut down Netflix for a night and go out and dance.  I am sure your Blugold alumni can reassure that you will not regret it.

 

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History Segment by Alyssa Anderson

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Long-time couple Jean and Dick Hazelton met when The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire was better known as The Wisconsin State College at Eau Claire, a university confined to only one building: the modern-day Schofield Hall. The couple, approaching their 59th wedding anniversary this year, provide an interesting insight into the many variances in marriage and relationship traditions between the 1950s and the present day.

The Hazelton couple wed in 1955, when both were still students at the university. The pair became acquainted through a university variety show. Jean, an avid member of the theater program and WEAU television station, was on the hunt for musicians for her variety show when she found Dick. Dick had been involved in band all throughout high school, and participated in the Air Force band for 3 years before beginning college in 1953. Dick became a regular participant on the variety show with Jean. The couple became quickly enamored, Jean even claims that “he proposed to me on our first date!”  Two years after Dick started college, the Hazelton’s were married.

In this day and age, marrying in college is basically unheard of. Nevertheless, marrying early was a social norm 65 years ago. In 1955, the average age of marriage was 22 for men and 20 for women. According to an article on futureofourchildren.org, the 1950s held the lowest median age for marriage for both men and women in the 20th century. Only 1/3 of 20somethings had a high school diploma and 1 out of 16 completed college. By 2015, about 5 out of 6 young people have graduated high school, 1/3 have a college degree. Marriage rates have dropped steadily in the second half of the twentieth century, and most couples marry long after college, unlike the Hazelton’s. A 2011 study by usatoday.com indicates that the average marrying age has increased to 27 for women and 29 for men. When viewing these statistics, the Hazelton’s may appear as the “average” 1950s couple, yet they did stray from some widespread values of the era. A common family value of this age was to have a “breadwinner”, or someone who works and provides for the family, generally the man. While the man of the family was expected to work, the woman was expected to keep house. The Hazelton couple strayed from this social construct. Both completed college degrees, and Jean pursued work as a teacher.

Marrying young is generally frowned upon in 2015, not to mention marrying in college. In the 1950s, marriage was considered a much more important part of society than it is today. Everyone, most specifically women, were expected to marry at some point and were encouraged to do so as soon as possible. Many 1950s couples sped into marriage, unlike most couples of today. In 2012, psychologytoday.com concluded that the average time spent dating before marriage was 3.6 years. Clearly, the societal values surrounding relationships and marriage have changed greatly over the years. Looking closely at a couple like the Hazelton’s makes this fact abundantly clear.

History with Jenna Vande Zande: 2-15-15

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Long-time couple Jean and Dick Hazelton met when The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire was better known as The Wisconsin State College at Eau Claire, a university confined to only one building: the modern-day Schofield Hall. The couple, approaching their 59th wedding anniversary this year, provide an interesting insight into the many variances in marriage and relationship traditions between the 1950s and the present day.

The Hazelton couple wed in 1955, when both were still students at the university. The pair became acquainted through a university variety show. Jean, an avid member of the theater program and WEAU television station, was on the hunt for musicians for her variety show when she found Dick. Dick had been involved in band all throughout high school, and participated in the Air Force band for 3 years before beginning college in 1953. Dick became a regular participant on the variety show with Jean. The couple became quickly enamored, Jean even claims that “he proposed to me on our first date!” Two years after Dick started college, the Hazelton’s were married.

In this day and age, marrying in college is basically unheard of. Nevertheless, marrying early was a social norm 65 years ago. In 1955, the average age of marriage was 22 for men and 20 for women. According to an article on futureofourchildren.org, the 1950s held the lowest median age for marriage for both men and women in the 20th century. Only 1/3 of 20somethings had a high school diploma and 1 out of 16 completed college. By 2015, about 5 out of 6 young people have graduated high school, 1/3 have a college degree. Marriage rates have dropped steadily in the second half of the twentieth century, and most couples marry long after college, unlike the Hazelton’s. A 2011 study by usatoday.com indicates that the average marrying age has increased to 27 for women and 29 for men. When viewing these statistics, the Hazelton’s may appear as the “average” 1950s couple, yet they did stray from some widespread values of the era. A common family value of this age was to have a “breadwinner”, or someone who works and provides for the family, generally the man. While the man of the family was expected to work, the woman was expected to keep house. The Hazelton couple strayed from this social construct. Both completed college degrees, and Jean pursued work as a teacher.

Marrying young is generally frowned upon in 2015, not to mention marrying in college. In the 1950s, marriage was considered a much more important part of society than it is today. Everyone, most specifically women, were expected to marry at some point and were encouraged to do so as soon as possible. Many 1950s couples sped into marriage, unlike most couples of today. In 2012, psychologytoday.com concluded that the average time spent dating before marriage was 3.6 years. Clearly, the societal values surrounding relationships and marriage have changed greatly over the years. Looking closely at a couple like the Hazelton’s makes this fact abundantly clear.

History with Jenna Vande Zande: 11-2-14

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Jenna Vande Zande talks about the 1970’s and its relation to UW-Eau Claire basketball.

History with Jenna Vande Zande: 10-12-14

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Jenna Vande Zande talks about UW-Eau Claire’s impressive music department.