Plastic flamings on Bascom Hill


On September 4, 1979, UW students found a surprise while they made their way to class on the first day of the school year: a flock of plastic pink flamingos had been planted on Bascom Hill. It was the work of the Pail and Shovel Party, the mock political organization that had taken control of UW student government that year. Led by Leon Varjan and Jim Mallon BA1979, the Pail and Shovel group used its $80,000 budget for a series of pranks. Students quickly swiped flamingos, though more people claim to have an original than could possibly be true. Not every student was pleased with Pail and Shovel’s antics, but enough students enjoyed the jokes to reelect Mallon and Varjian for a second term. They gave up the reins of power in 1981.

The art for the Badger Pride Wall was created for WAA by Madison illustrator Nate Koehler.