Thursday, April 18, 2024

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The overuse of “therapy speak” can be detrimental to conversations about mental health.

How a question about prom tickets was sent to 18,000 UW-Madison students

University of Wisconsin-Madison information technology staff said they’re making changes to student email groups after approximately 18,000 University of Wisconsin-Madison juniors and seniors received a mass email about prom tickets.

The email, sent from a student with the subject line “Prom tickets” late at night on April 8, appeared to be a student asking how to purchase tickets for the Senior Prom hosted Saturday at the Discovery Building.

“Hi there not sure if this is the right email for this inquiry but I was wondering if there is any way possible to still buy a prom ticket!?” the student said in the email.

The mistake quickly garnered replies from more than 15 students who chose to reply to all, culminating in a flurry of noti-

fications and emails for 18,000 students again. Replies ranged from “wrong person lol” to “I don’t sell prom tickets. Good luck.”

The email was due to student error in Google Groups, Mary Evansen, communications director for UW-Madison’s Division of Information Technology, told the Cardinal in an email.

Google Groups, a service provided through UW-Madison’s Google Workspace for Education package, provides a messaging platform to post messages across di erent groups.

“Google Groups are intended to enable effective campus communication for students, faculty and staff within the technical constraints provided by our email system,” Evansen said.

Although students are part of a number of groups, including their school, classes, general graduation classes and all-student groups, the student’s email was sent to the

2024_juniorsandseniors@g-groups.wisc. edu group, which includes juniors and seniors by credit standing.

To send a mass email to the 2024_juniorsandseniors group, a student would have to click on the group and select “new conversation.” From there, they could write the email and hit send, emailing more than 18,000 students. It’s unclear how the student gained access to the group.

Evansen said the group “worked as configured.”

“Following this event our email team will review and enhance our documentation and instructions to aid individuals when configuring Google Groups,” Evansen said. “Senders are responsible for adhering to the appropriate use guidelines of our university email tool.”

Non-administrators could still send messages to a group titled “uwofficial-all-stu-

dents” as of Wednesday evening, per email permissions reviewed by the Cardinal. The group is regularly used by the UW-Madison Police Department and University Communications to send mass emails.

The guidelines, listed on the UW-Madison website, specify the service “is intended to be used for email distribution and permissions within UW-Madison Google Workspace,” and it is not “to be used for unsolicited bulk email or marketing email.”

When forming a Google Group, Evansen said, the creator can choose the posting security. These four options range from just group administrators having posting power, the current configuration of the “allstudents” group, to granting non-members posting power.

The student did not respond to a request for comment.

UW System financial reports spark concern over public higher education funding

The University of Wisconsin System released seven reports highlighting impending financial concerns at several universities earlier this month.

The reports, assembled by consulting firm Deloitte, reviewed seven UW System universities: UW-Green Bay, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Parkside, UW-Platteville, UW-River Falls, UW-Superior and UW-Whitewater.

All seven were advised to make a series of campus-specific spending cuts ranging from sta to academic programs.

The findings cast a grim outlook over a university system grappling with years of public funding cuts and declining enrollment. Wisconsin ranks 42nd in the nation in public university funding, according to an April 2023 report from the nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum.

“While we will do our part on the expense side of the ledger, ultimately it is up to the state to decide whether it wants and can a ord a weakened Universities of Wisconsin,” Rothman said in a statement last week. “The adage is that you get what you pay for.”

Rothman called for more funding from the state Legislature and said making ends meet “on the backs” of faculty and sta “should not have to continue.”

But some students and sta at those universities worry it will.

“We’re [treated like] just a corporation, where can we cut costs and where can we raise revenues and basically put it more on the students, which of course will only end up hurting enrollments,” Neil Kraus, political

science professor at UW-River Falls and president of United Falcons, the local American Federation of Teachers (AFT) chapter, told The Daily Cardinal.

A professor at River Falls for nearly 20 years, Kraus has long been a vocal critic of “austerity,” or policies to reduce government budget deficits through spending cuts, in public education.

Kraus said he felt the UW-System paying Deloitte $2.8 million for their report is another example of austerity. He said the UW System seems to implicitly — and to some degree, explicitly — expect decreases in public funding and increased privatization, calling the cuts “political decisions.”

UW-River Falls has already started a series of spending cuts, includ-

ing implementing a hiring freeze as well as merging the College of Business and Economics and College of Education and Professional Studies. Some members of a budget advisory committee at the university said in March they worried about program suspensions.

As positions go vacant, Kraus worries liberal arts majors will “die on the vine” at UW-River Falls.

“That’s much easier, because then you don’t have to have a debate on the merits — at any level — about whether or not we ought to have this major or that major,” Kraus said.

Students also expressed concern about their campus’ financial future. At UW-Oshkosh, The Advance-Titan student newspaper published op-eds from students, including editor-inchief Anya Kelley, criticizing layo s

and lack of transparency.

Jack Schindler Van Hoof, a thirdyear UW-River Falls student and editor of the Student Voice, UW-River Falls’ student newspaper, described the current mood on campus as the “calm before the storm.”

“I feel like there’s a lot they aren’t telling us. And this is true for all universities, I guess, but specifically, we were expecting so much more from the reports than the limited, 17-page PDF we got,” Van Hoof told the Cardinal.

Campuses already feeling budget woes

The UW System Board of Regents adopted a strategic plan in 2022 which called for eliminating “structural deficits” — expenses that exceed current revenue streams — at all system uni-

versities by 2028.

In the years since, several UW campuses, including many listed in Deloitte’s recent report, have implemented sweeping cuts.

At UW-Oshkosh, Chancellor Andrew Leavitt implemented a “dramatic reduction in expenses” in October, including laying o close to 200 employees. The university announced mergers between several of its colleges in February as an additional cost-saving measure.

UW-Parkside and UW-Platteville also announced layo s in November and October, respectively. And despite record-high enrollment at Green Bay, university administrators laid o nine sta members last fall and proposed ending majors in dance, economics, environmental policy and theater in October.

Jon Shelton, professor of democracy and justice studies at UW-Green Bay and AFT-Wisconsin president, said faculty and sta are “deeply frustrated” the UW System chose “to listen to outside consultants” rather than those already on campuses.

Students and faculty have advised UW System campuses on budget advisory committees and during sessions with Deloitte, according to the reports.

“No one’s saying that university should stay static until the end of time,” Shelton said. For him, the issue is the UW System “taking austerity as a given” and putting the burden on professors instead of state government.

Financial reports from the remaining universities, excluding UW-Madison, which didn’t have a report, will be available later this year, according to the UW System.

“…the great state University of Wisconsin should ever encourage that continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth can be found.”

University of Wisconsin-Madison Since 1892 Thursday, April 18, 2024 VAMPIRE SEEKING HUMAN SAVE IT FOR YOUR THERAPIST + ARTS, PAGE 7 + OPINION, PAGE 6 Dry, blood-soaked comedy comes to the Wisconsin Film Festival.

Progressive journalist Ezra Klein explored the roots and impacts of political polarization in America during a talk organized by the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the Monona Terrace.


Times columnist Ezra Klein discussed his bestselling book on American polarization, “Why We’re Polarized,” in remarks Tuesday at the Monona Terrace.

During the event — hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s La Follette School of Public A airs — Klein dissected the divides behind rising political polarization, including a sense of exclusion and resentment from rural Americans who feel left behind by establishment figures and institutions.

“We are more organized in our disagreement than we were in the past,” Klein said. “There is not a single city of significant density in America that votes Republican now… The politics of Madison are like the politics of San Francisco… and the politics of rural Wisconsin are quite like the politics of interior rural California.”

Klein, the La Follette School’s spring 2024 Public Affairs Journalist in Residence, is known for his progressive politics and conversational podcasts. He is also the co-founder, former editor-in-chief and editor-atlarge of Vox Media.

After opening remarks from La Follette students and Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Jill Karofsky, Klein discussed changes in American political polarization over time.

He said America’s founding fathers misjudged the future political landscape because they believed regional and state identities would be more influential in politics rather than party identity. In his view, recent divides are not over specific policies, such as Obamacare, but rather over democracy.

This shift has led to more competitive and crucial elections, particularly in battleground states like Wisconsin, Klein said.

“We trade the house back and forth now like it’s go fetch,” Klein said. “There are razor thin elections right now, and there are fewer swing voters than ever, so they are more important than ever.”

Klein also discussed educational polarization, a topic he felt was underexplored. In his view, the educational divide is becoming less about race as non-college-educated Hispanic and Black voters are gradually leaning toward the Republican Party.

Instead, Klein identified identity politics as the dividing factor. He said this presents vulnerabilities for both political parties — particularly Democrats — as party coalitions split by educational attainment.

“The Democratic Party is now winning college-educated

“We’re trying to encourage civic dialogue, bring people together, convene [and] bring out evidence-based research to inform policy,” said Greg Nemet, interim director of the La Follete school, in an interview with The Daily Cardinal. “We’re not making policy or advocating particular policy decisions. But we do a lot of looking at policies.”

voters while the Republican Party is winning non-collegeeducated voters,” he said.

Klein said candidates who tailor their appeal to voters rather than posturing for fellow partisans fare better at navigating the divide. He cited Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin as an example.

“[The politicians] that keep winning on the Democratic side are not angry politicians,” Klein said. “They’re politicians who are able to convey [the] sense that [they] think pretty highly of the people they represent, even the people who didn’t vote for them, and whether you like them or not, they’re the kind [of politicians] to get down to work day after day.”

After the talk, Klein answered questions from audience members. In response to a question about his advice for the younger generation in navigating a highly polarized environment, he encouraged students to embrace an independent approach to learning.

“Read books on paper, on your own. They’re the best technology for thinking. What many in society don’t want you to do is to learn to think for yourself. But that’s exactly what you should be doing. The world is trying to think for you; books are a great way to start thinking for yourself,” Klein said.

Sooyoung Kim contributed reporting to this story.

Free brats, mocktails headline Memorial Terrace reopening celebration Wednesday

With summer around the corner and temperatures in Madison rising, students and community members are heading back to the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Memorial Union Terrace

Memorial Union employees removed the chairs in early November for the winter season. But as of Wednesday morning, the famous green, orange and yellow Sunburst chairs are back on the lakeside.

The Wisconsin Union will mark the occasion with a Terrace opening party from 4-6 p.m. featuring free brats, mocktails, live performances and more.

With temperatures climbing above 80 degrees Sunday, Bianca Cherry, a UW-Madison freshman, said she is excited for the Terrace reopening.

“I feel like the Memorial Terrace really brings together the di erent communities,” Cherry said. “It’s one of the points on campus that really separates us from other campuses.”

home for the summer, Forester said events at the Terrace would be one of the draws of spending summer in Madison.

“I really enjoyed all of the live music that I experienced throughout my first year here at the Terrace and would love to experience that during the summer months as well,” Forester said.

Some students said they use the Terrace as not just a meeting spot but as a place to connect with the community.

“I couldn’t be happier about it reopening. It was really nice to have Memorial Union during my first year for good food, study spots or just to hang with friends,” Forester said.

Though he’ll be heading back

Another UW-Madison freshman, Nathan Forester, said the Terrace has been an important location for him as he’s transitioned to college.

“The Terrace was one of the reasons I chose Wisconsin,” UW-Madison freshman Michael Dougherty said. “The Terrace has become my comfort spot on campus and it has been a safe space for me all throughout my first year.”

The Sunburst chairs will remain on the Terrace through late fall.

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Wisconsin farmers need a new farm bill. Can Congress act in time?

The five-year legislative package must be reauthorized.Waiting isn’t an option, farmers say.

When he’s not studying at the University of WisconsinMadison, Jacob Knigge spends his time at his family’s dairy farm nestled in the rolling fields of Omro, Wisconsin. At Knigge Farms, he spends the day on field work — feeding cows and calves, scraping stalls and laying down fresh bedding.

“I really like working with the cows because they all have their own personalities,” Knigge told The Daily Cardinal.

In the past decade, Knigge said he’s noticed a worrying trend.

“We used to have over five farms within a seven- or eightminute drive from us, and now there’s only one other one besides us,” Knigge said.

For Wisconsin, a state that holds a quarter of the nation’s total dairy farms and has experienced numerous bankruptcies and closures, congressional delays toward a new farm bill have farmers wondering when a modern version of the omnibus will be in season.

The omnibus farm bill, a sweeping legislative package which provides nutritional assistance and farming subsidies, must be reauthorized every five years and was last updated in 2018.

Although it was slated for renewal in 2023, Republican House leadership battles and appropriations struggles led to a continuing resolution for the 2018 farm bill rather than an updated package.

“If we don’t get a bill done, we’re constantly going to deal with this hanging over our head, going back to decades-old law around milk pricing that negatively affects us,” House Appropriations Committee member Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wisconsin, told the Cardinal.

Still, some lawmakers in the Republican caucus have concerns about how specific programs in the package — nutritional assistance and conservation chief among them — will be administered.

Once U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., resigns on April 19, the narrow majority of four Republicans in the House means two Republicans could sink the package if no Democrats supported it.

“All they need are a smaller amount of people to screw up the process, and unfortunately, they’ve had a lot of people doing that along the way,” Pocan said.

But waiting, particularly in struggling sectors like dairy, isn’t an option, farmers cautioned.

“We’re looking at a number of farms that go out of business, and the vast majority of them are going out of business because they can’t pay the bills at the end of the month,” Darin Von Ruden, Wisconsin Farmers Union president, told the Cardinal.

How is the bill passed, and what does it do?

Despite its name, the farm bill provides assistance to people far beyond farmers, like people seeking nutritional assistance.

“Some food advocates have suggested we call it a food bill instead of a farm bill. The title is a little confusing because most of the aid is not about farms,” said Jeffrey Filipiak, a UW-Oshkosh environmental science professor.

The largest of the 2018 bill’s 12 titles, nutrition assistance, made up 76% of the package’s expenditures and covers programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The three next-largest titles are crop insurance, commodities and conservation, which provide premium subsidies, price and income support for dairy, sugar and highdemand non-perishable crops as well as conservation programs for farmers.

Some programs in the bill, like SNAP, are guaranteed funding in the appropriations process, controlled by appropriations committees in the House and Senate that examine budget requests and create budget bills. But others are allocated amounts through discretionary spending, meaning their funds are optional and must be reapproved by Congress each year.

A Wisconsin Republican, Rep. Derrick Van Orden, sits on the House Agriculture Committee which will create the package alongside its corresponding committee in the Senate. A spokesperson for Van Orden did not respond to interview requests.

Von Ruden said Van Orden expressed “some differences” in belief with Wisconsin Farmers Union members and said their views “haven’t quite gotten through to him.”

“It’s a little concerning because it seems like he would much rather see cuts to the nutrition title of the farm bill,” Von Ruden said, adding that Van Orden was also looking at “overall cuts” to the budget.

It’s in that last stage where the greatest challenge lies: in case of a party-line floor vote on the package, razorthin majorities in the House Republican caucus mean just two members could break from the majority to sink it.

Pocan said he’s been told the agricultural funding package approved on March 6 could “solve some of the stickier issues,” particularly with SNAP.

But the House Republican caucus’ tight control over what legislation passes left Von Ruden and Pocan uncertain about the prospects of a new bill this year.

“[Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy] made it so that any handful — literally — of members could cause havoc and kill bills. That’s not the way it’s intended,” Pocan said. “Out of

435 people, you shouldn’t have four or five be able to stop the entire process.”

Nutrition, conservation titles at center of debates

The prospect of potentially changing SNAP eligibility is creating contention in farm bill talks. Though Van Orden said he supports SNAP as a “hand up,” he’s been noncommittal on potential expansions to existing work requirements and voiced concerns on potential fraud within the system.

Increased work requirements tend to make the programs less efficient due to money spent on overhead and processing and could affect people who need the aid the most, Filipiak said.

“Maybe they aren’t fluent in English, so they have trouble filling out the application form. Or maybe they just get frustrated and stop applying so that you get aid to fewer people who deserve it,” Filipiak said.

Changes to SNAP eligibility would also disproportionately affect people of color, who experience higher rates of food insecurity.

Though Wisconsin has a below-average rate of food insecurity, it has among the largest disparities between Black and white households in the nation — 7.4% of white households in Wisconsin were food insecure between 2015 and 2019, compared to 32.6% of Black households, according to UW-Madison’s Wisconsin Food Security Project.

Reforms to SNAP administration could also change student regulations like stringent exemption requirements, which make it tougher for students to qualify.

Alongside nutrition, the conservation title has been subject to heated debate as advocates aim to reduce agricultural contributions to the climate crisis.

Programs in the title encourage farmers to use sustainable prac-

tices in their agriculture through subsidies and grants. In fiscal year 2023, Wisconsin received 4,452 total applicants for two conservation programs supercharged by funding from the Inflation Reduction Act — the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Stewardship Programs — though only 1,787 applicants were awarded contracts.

Von Ruden said taking care of land through the highdemand programs is necessary for economic stability and food availability. He said he wants to see more conservation funding, not less.

Yet potential cuts or clawbacks to the conservation and nutrition titles, including repurposing the IRA funds currently used in the conservation title, were at the center of heated debate between Democrats and Republicans on the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, according to POLITICO.

Consolidation has farmers union president hoping for ‘competition’ title

One of the farmers union’s asks is a “competition” title to allow greater numbers of buyers for more competitive sales to processors. Decentralizing market power is one of Von Ruden’s biggest hopes, he said.

“The numbers of processing facilities has been shrinking, and then also the number of owners in that system have really been decreasing,” Von Ruden said. “We’ve got fewer and fewer places that we can actually sell our milk into or our beef into.”

Though the number of Wisconsin farms has decreased 10% since 2017, the farms that stick around are getting larger. The average size of a Wisconsin farm was 236 acres, according to 2022 census data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the largest it’s been in more than two decades.

A 2024 Department of Agriculture report found 88%

of U.S. farms are small family farms, but the families running them usually rely on off-farm sources for a majority of their household income. Large family farms were about 3% of farms and account for nearly 52% of production value, according to the report.

Dairy pricing just one of the uncertainties facing Wisconsin Von Ruden echoed Pocan’s criticism of “decades-old” dairy prices, which he said don’t reflect the current costs of producing dairy.

Farmers are “price-takers” and not price-setters, Von Ruden said, meaning consolidation in retail and processing industries allows processors to demand lower prices from farmers.

“We need to see a different pricing structure within the dairy industry to allow farmers to recover more of those costs from the consumer dollar,” Von Ruden said. “The middleman is just taking a bigger share of the consumer dollar and the farmer receives a smaller share on a regular basis.”

Changes to pricing structures are just one of many uncertainties facing farmers like Knigge, who said his family considers available subsidies while planning crop harvests for coming years.

Though large farmers are more likely to consider farm bill changes in their planning processes, Von Ruden said, having certainty in a passed bill would help farmers plan their futures.

“Looking at what’s going on in D.C. right now, I’m not sure that they’re gonna get a farm bill signed this year,” Von Ruden said.

And while Pocan hopes the appropriations package will help speed the process along, getting a full farm bill passed will be harder, he said.

“This Congress in general just has di culty being itself,” Pocan said.

news Thursday, April 18, 2024 3

Beekeeper’s business buzzes at the Dane County Farmers’ Market

Dale Marsden’s initial love for bees came from his days chasing bumblebees as a kid on his family’s farm.

“We used to chase bumblebees out of the stacks of lath in the sheds before we could take the lath out to the tobacco fields,” Marsden said. “We’d get those bees a little bit upset.”

So when his brother-in-law, Harold, approached him and his brother with beekeeping equipment in 1963, he was more inclined to take on the project.

“We realized that after my brother-in-law brought those empty boxes of gauze and stu and left them on the farm,” he said. “It’s just very interesting.”

Decades later, Marsden’s passion for crafting honey became Marsden’s Pure Honey LLC, of which he is the founder and owner. His jarred honey, honeycomb and creamed honey (o ered in locust or dandelion flavors) have been fixtures of the Dane County Farmers’ Market since 1978, and Saturday morning shoppers strolling through the market will find him stationed at his honey stand with a smile and his signature beehive hat.

Initially, Marsden said beekeeping was a hobby that helped him make money while attending school at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

“I got up to about 27 hives during college and helped pay for my college,” Marsden said. “And of course, it wasn’t so expensive those days. I could sell [a] one-pound jar of honey for $1 and a quarter. Now, they’re eight or nine dollars.”

Marsden was drafted into the U.S. Air Force as a navigator immediately after graduating from UW-Whitewater with a degree in math and physics. He went to California for navigator bombardier training.

During his time in the Air Force, Marsden flew bombing missions in Southeast Asia and was eventually stationed in South Dakota.

“I went to Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota and flew as a navigator with them for about five years,” Marsden said.

Marsden said he experienced a “bee withdrawal” while in South Dakota and sought out a local beekeeper to help him set up hives near the Air Force base. Marsden was eventually sidelined from his active duty in the Air Force after contracting Hepatitis A, preventing him

Madison community heads back to prom

The Vera Court Neighborhood Center hosted an adult prom event, “Prom Encore,” on Saturday to raise funds for the local community while simultaneously celebrating Madison’s older population.

The event aimed to offer a historically overlooked group, those over 60, the opportunity to come together both philanthropically and at the gala itself.

Vera Court is an independent nonprofit that covers many bases in the Madison community, including providing educational resources, nutritional meals and cultural resources to local families in need.

from being deployed until recovery.

From there, Marsden moved back to Wisconsin with his family, where he bought 70 hives and returned to honey-making.

Marsden said his first winter beekeeping resulted in the death of many of his new bees. However, he recovered and now cares for 50 hives.

“I came back to Wisconsin after I’d ordered some bees,” Marsden said. “I ended up not being able to have as many bees as I wanted, but I had 70 hives and lost a bunch of them. But I’ve ordered more bees.”

Upon returning to his honey-making business, Marsden said he also worked a full-time job as an industrial engineer. Marsden also served in the Wisconsin National Guard and later in the Reserves. He retired from the Air Force in 1992.

“After a year I joined the Air Force guard out of Milwaukee in KC-135 [Stratotankers] and flew with them for five years as a refueling mission,” Marsden said. “I refueled airplanes, did a lot of flying all over the country and South America, and I think we went to Alaska and Europe.”

During this time, Marsden also went back to school at Madison Area Technical College and received a degree in commercial art, selling his honey at the Dane County Farmers’ Market beginning in 1978.

With this degree in commercial art, Marsen drew inspiration from a coworker’s bee drawing to create his logo for Marsden’s Pure Honey LLC.

“I used that bee design to make some pins,” Marsden said. “I got the design idea for the bee from that, and then I had the lady at research at my company that was a commercial artist develop that picture better. And from there, I had my logo and everything.”

As a wearer of many hats, perhaps Marsden’s most famous is his iconic beehive hat. Marsden said he gained inspiration from his neighboring vendors at the Dane County Farmers’ Market.

“The guy over there had a big brat hat,” Marsden said. “Then this guy came in between us on a daily basis, him and his wife had a cheesehead and a cowboy cheesehead hat. They said, ‘Hey, you gotta have a hat.’”

Marsden said he found the beehive hat at a beauty consignment store. He’s worn the hat ever since.

In his many years of beekeeping, Marsden said there is no fear to be had of the honeybees.

“It’s not so scary to get stung a little bit,” Marsden said.

Founded in 1994, the center’s development director, Jalen Greenlee, applauded how far the program has come in its 30 years of establishment.

“Vera Court was birthed out of a local apartment building by mothers that wanted to see a change,” Greenlee said. “Now we have two thriving neighborhood centers that serve over 7,000 people each year.”

Richard Jones Jr., executive director of Vera Court Neighborhood, told The Daily Cardinal the organization aims to “sustain and empower our neighborhoods.”

“Sustainability can come from supporting folks where they are today, and empowering is helping them have a stronger future,” Jones Jr. said. “How that plays out happens to be based on the creativity of our staff and the feedback of our community, so we’re very flexible in how we reach those goals.”

In Saturday’s case, the organization’s flexibility in how they spread their influence led Vera Court to “Prom Encore.”

“Somebody from our team said, ‘We should host a prom, because wouldn’t it be nice if we could do prom again,’” Jones Jr. said. “No matter what your prom experience was — whether it was the best night of your life, the worst night of your life or you skipped it entirely — we all deserve to do prom again.”

The community embraced the idea, ecstatic to have an opportunity to go buy a new dress, strap on their dancing shoes and make the most of a night that, for many, is not typical.

For community member Aundrey Newsome, the adult prom event meant the world.

“Just to have something like this, for people over 60, I think it’s amazing,” Newsome said. “Sometimes you feel forgotten, and just to see that you’re not means so much.”

Newsome’s date of choice for the night was her sister, Brenda Hewing. Hewing was all smiles, as she said the Prom Encore event was a monumental moment for her.

“I’ve never been to a prom,” Hewing said. “It’s my first one!” Jones Jr. said countless other individuals echoed Newsome and Hewing’s praise.

“[Madison community members] told me, ‘We feel seen,’” he said. “It was from that moment on that we knew that this needed to be an annual event so we could celebrate our older adults consistently.”

The adult prom was not solely for the good times and music. At the event, the Vera Court Neighborhood unveiled a new membership program, the Monthly Change Makers Club, where the raised contributions go toward improving the lives of Madison families in need.

In a speech addressing the

Prom Encore audience, Jones Jr. urged the crowd to think outside the box regarding what a typical philanthropic donor looks like.

“We see traditional donors as rich affluent people who can give thousands of dollars without wincing or blinking an eye,” Jones Jr. said. “When we think about contributors, we often don’t see ourselves as people who can fit the mold.”

But in the case of Vera Court Neighborhood Center, donors do not need to fit that stereotype. Jones Jr. told the audience all they had to do was “put in on it.”

“When we’re talking, ‘putting in on it,’ we understand there is something we want to accomplish, something we want to buy or something we want to do that we are either not able or not willing to do ourselves,” Jones Jr. said. “So what do we do? We put in on it.”

Monthly memberships ranged from $10 a month up to $100 a month, with the precedent being how much a community member could donate was more than enough. Combined with other’s donations, Jones Jr. said even a little goes a long way.

As Jones Jr. wrapped up his speech, he called up members from the crowd and designated them the “Prom Court.”

Dressed up in their finest, Prom Court nominees Renee Taylor, Maria Ferreira and Darcy Little were reminders of what the night was all about: celebrating community.

“Prom Encore” was a night for celebrating the countless volunteers who aim to give back to the community, families who turn to the center for support and local Madison residents eager and willing to spend their Saturday night raising money for mutual benefit.

4 Thursday, April 18, 2024 news

The Daily Cardinal’s 2023-24 men’s, women’s sports awards sports

Men’s sports superlatives

As the athletic and academic year is nearing its end, there is nothing better to close out this time than by handing out some awards. It was yet another actionpacked year for Wisconsin athletics, so let’s look back and recognize all the good that came from this sports season.

MVP: Kyle McClellan, hockey

Kyle McClellan, a goaltender for the Wisconsin Badgers men’s hockey team, was critical in backstopping the hockey team to a resurgent season this year. McClellan shouldered a large burden for the Badgers, starting 37 games. He saved 93% of the shots he faced and allowed only 1.94 goals per game, which was the nation’s best.

McClellan finished the year with 24 wins and seven shutouts and was recently honored with the Mike Richter Award, given annually to the best goalie in college hockey. Additionally, he was named an All-American and was a top-ten finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the best player in college hockey.

Transfer of the Year: AJ Storr, basketball

While it’s ironic this award goes to a player that has since transferred from Wisconsin, AJ Storr still earned it for his performance this year. Storr averaged nearly 17 points per game, including back-to-back 28-point performances against Michigan State and Nebraska. Storr brought dynamic athleticism and provided a spark for a Badgers team that missed the tournament last year. He helped carry Wisconsin to the Big Ten tournament final with dominant performances against Northwestern and Purdue and led the team back to the NCAA Tournament.

Breakout Player of the Year: Ricardo Hallman, football

In what was a very up-and-down year for Wisconsin football, Ricardo Hallman stole the show as a consistent presence every week. Hallman tied for the most interceptions in the nation with seven, highlighted by his 95-yard pick-six against Rutgers, which was Wisconsin’s longest pick-six against a Big Ten opponent since 1954. Hallman also recorded a tackle in every game except the season

opener and was the definition of a lockdown corner.

Hallman faced o against many difficult receivers, including some looks against Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr.. According to Pro Football Focus, Hallman allowed quarterbacks to have a 37.4 passer rating when throwing to him. Not too shabby.

Coach of the Year: Mike Hastings, hockey

Wisconsin hockey was a proud program that had hit rock bottom. The Badgers’ last two seasons were simply not good enough — they went 10-24-1 in 2021-22, and 13-23-0 last year, which led to head coach Tony Granato’s dismissal.

Then came Mike Hastings, who immediately engineered a turnaround. The once hapless Badgers suddenly swept No. 1 Minnesota on the road, beat powerhouse Michigan and stole the No. 1 ranking for themselves. That ranking didn’t last, but the Badgers played solid hockey all year and finished second in the Big Ten. Wisconsin also returned to the NCAA Tournament, which ended with a heartbreaking overtime loss to defending national champion Quinnipiac.

Game of the Year: Hockey, 5-4 win over Michigan

It might seem sacrilegious to not award this to the football team who got Paul Bunyan’s Axe back from Minnesota, but hockey’s victory over Michigan was just that electric. Coming off two wins against the Golden Gophers, the Badgers got an opportunity to prove their resurgence was legit. They welcomed the Wolverines, a hockey power, to town. Michigan built a 4-2 lead, but the Badgers reeled off three straight goals, including the winner from Owen Lindmark with under five minutes to go.

Team of the Year: Track and Field

The track and field team had a strong year, taking home the Big Ten Championship. This was courtesy of Adam Spencer winning the mile race, Jackson Sharp winning the 3000 meter and Gio Wearing taking home the title in the 60 hurdles. Spencer later finished second in the NCAA Championships for the mile run.

Women’s sports superlatives

It was another successful season for Wisconsin women’s athletics. There were Final Fours, a championship game appearance, and some exceptional individual performances. Now, it’s time to hand out

MVP: Sarah Franklin, volleyball

Sarah Franklin was truly dominant in helping lead the Wisconsin volleyball team back to the Final Four. She registered a staggering 486 kills this season and finished with a .300 hitting percentage. Her high mark was a phenomenal performance against Purdue in November, where she finished the match with 28 kills.

Franklin was a force all season and was later named both the Big Ten and the AVCA Player of the Year, so it would seem wrong for her not to be the MVP of this women’s sports season.

Transfer of the Year: Carter Booth, volleyball

This could have also gone to her teammate Temi-Thomas Ailara, but Carter Booth was an integral part of the Badgers’ defense this season. Standing tall at 6’7,” Booth was a menace in the middle, blocking anything that came her way. She led the Big Ten and was fourth in the NCAA with 1.56 blocks per set, eventually earning herself a spot on the First Team All-Big Ten and Third-Team AVCA All-American.

Breakout Player of the Year: Kirsten Simms, hockey

Given the impressive year she had, Kirsten Simms made a case for MVP alongside Franklin. Simms, a sophomore, broke out this year, leading all of women’s hockey with 75 points and tying for an NCAA-best 33 goals in the 2023-24 season. Simms was named the

WCHA Player of the Year and was a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award, which is given to the best player in women’s collegiate hockey.

Coach of the Year: Paula Wilkins, soccer

Head coach Paula Wilkins is a hidden gem on campus who led the Badgers women’s soccer team to another strong outing in her 17th season in charge. She has a lot of competition with Mark Johnson and Kelly Sheffield, but Wilkins gets the nod this year. Wisconsin finished 14-5-4 with a 7-2-1 record in the Big Ten, and she led the team to both the Big Ten Championship Game and the NCAA Tournament. Their season ended with a 2-1 loss to Texas in the second round, but it was nonetheless a strong season under Wilkins.

Game of the Year: Volleyball 3-1 win over Oregon

This game takes the cake because it gave the Badgers a spot in the Final Four. Oregon was a very strong team, coming into the Wisconsin Field House with 29 wins. Wisconsin earned a victory in four sets, but the first two were decided by three points each, and the third set, won by Oregon, required extra volleyball to settle the tie score. Wisconsin prevailed in the fourth set to advance to the Final Four and sent the home crowd into a frenzy.

Team of the Year: Hockey

Mark Johnson’s team is the most consistent program on campus and delivered once again in 2023 as Wisconsin finished 35-6 and earned a 23-5 record in the WCHA. The Badgers won the WCHA Final Faceoff to make it back to the National Championship game. They lost 1-0 to Ohio State, but it was another very successful year for the women’s hockey team.


A post-studying abroad reflection

They say studying abroad will change who you are — but can it really?

“Studying abroad changes your life” and “study abroad will change you” are two phrases I repeatedly heard from people in my life before departing for my semester overseas.

It’s true the decision to leave your college behind and attend school in a new country can create a step towards self-growth. But do these statements apply to everyone?

Four months later, after everything I have experienced and learned during my time abroad, I still don’t have an exact answer. Everyone who decides to study abroad — whether for one semester, one summer or one year — has their individual plans, desires and goals. Is it expected that everyone choosing to live abroad changes in some way?

To answer this di cult question: I believe it depends on how one utilizes their experience as a student living in another country.

I chose to enroll in a small program catered to American study abroad students. With about 300 students per semester, my program focused on supporting each student’s personal experience. I appreciated the tight-knit, inclusive outreach the program provides and preferred my newfound community’s genuinity, making it one of the many contributions to my personal growth during this period of my college years.

Being an international student in a smaller European city has its various ups and downs. It’s quite similar to attending a university with a small- or medium-sized campus where you’re likely to see the same familiar faces. The American students here stand out like a sore thumb, typically in ways that don’t represent us well. From observation alone, I have seen the two extremes of American college students studying abroad in Europe: the ones who make it worthwhile and the ones who do not.

Based on my own observations, those that truly care about this experience attend class. These students adjust to a new weekly schedule and form a consistent, yet fun and open-ended, daily routine. Or, they make an e ort to form a relationship with their professors despite only having the class twice a week.

Those who don’t really care about the logistical side of study abroad are the ones skipping class repeatedly or boasting about the numerous upscale clubs they went out to in the past few nights. They aren’t connected with the place they chose to study, choosing to go abroad for its social aspects. For them, it’s simply time to excessively vacation around foreign countries.

I also believe there is one constant factor present in most college students’ lives that a ects how many view the concept of studying abroad: social media.

Thanks to social media, there is a heightened sense of glamor around the concept of study abroad. To many, studying abroad can include taking luxurious trips to a di erent country every weekend, partying at a fancy club, cli -jumping in Malta or participating in a life-changing, adventurous activity like riding motorcycles in Morocco’s deserts. Many, including myself, go into study abroad enticed by the idea of traveling somewhere new every single weekend.

Unfortunately, traveling in Europe isn’t as cheap as assumed. Studying abroad, especially coming on your own, comes with many tough obstacles: planning, budgeting and generally expanding your comfort zone. While this perception of taking stress-free excursions on top of taking classes may be the reality for some, this isn’t for everyone. Studying abroad comes with its own baggage of navigating a new familiarity and avoiding the social media rabbit hole of glamourising study abroad.

I came into this semester with an overwhelming amount of expectations and mustdos. I must travel to as many countries as possible. I need to explore the entirety of the city

I’m studying in. I have to try this restaurant and order a specific meal from this random TikTok video I viewed.

Comparing myself to others, I developed a false perception of how I should spend my semester. At first, the slightly harsh reality of what it actually is like studying abroad hit me like a slap in the face.

But when I shifted my perspective, I began to form an experience of my own without relying on the influences of other students, social media or following an agenda. Finding out more about yourself is an ultimate achievement, especially while studying abroad for one semester or year. It helps you find or reshape your values, and it creates new opportunities for your future. What you learn in di erent moments and what you discover about yourself depends on how you spend your time.

This doesn’t mean you have to move overseas for several months to encounter this drastic change people claim happens. Studying abroad

isn’t for everyone, especially because it can be academically unavailable and overly expensive. It can be daunting for some, given how long you’re separated from home. Taking on a semester of college in a completely new environment isn’t easy, and it’s not the picture-perfect moment that’s portrayed on social media.

I have looked back on who I was before leaving the United States and who I am now as this semester is slowly coming to a close. After a lot of deep reflection, I don’t believe studying abroad for a semester entirely changed who I am.

I believe studying abroad changed how I see the world around me and how I see my own future. This spring, I learned about the importances of self-prioritization and connecting with your environment, two things I wouldn’t have learned as well if I hadn’t decided to study in Europe.

Does this mean I changed as a person? Was it due to studying abroad? Studying abroad can lead young people along a successful path towards self-discovery. The idea that studying abroad alone will change you depends on how you spend it.

A note from the writer: Having access to mental health care is a privilege. Luckily, we have access to UHS counseling services as UW-Madison students. If you or a loved one are dealing with a mental health emergency, UHS o ers 24/7 crisis counseling services.

I know you’re probably bracing for something that uncle would say at Thanksgiving dinner, but hear me out. “Saving it for your therapist” might be for the best.

It’s one thing to raise awareness and work to eliminate mental health stigma through selfadvocacy, but it’s another to aid in a culture that’s making “therapy speak” lose its meaning.

At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, conversations about mental health are far from taboo. Now more than ever, students are encouraged to reach out in times of need.

And according to the 2022 “Healthy Minds Survey,” they are. While in college, 39% of UW-Madison students have met with a mental health professional, an impressive statistic considering that, as of 2021, the CDC found only 21.6% of adults sought mental health treatment in the last year.

As students share their stories and advocate for their well-being, mental health issues have shifted from something discussed behind closed doors to something talked about loudly on the third floor of College Library.

Conversations promoting increased awareness and normalization have helped eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health issues. However, with this benefit comes an unexpected side e ect: the misuse of mental health language, or “therapy speak.”

There’s no single definition of “misuse,” but consider some of the following scenarios.

Maybe your friend comes over after having a really long day, and it seems like all they can talk about is an argument they got in with a coworker. You might have the instinct to call that “trauma dumping.” Maybe you think back to a time when your ex wouldn’t stop talking about themselves. You might want to call them a “narcissist.”

When faced with frustrating and confusing situations, it’s natural to rely on words created to help us heal while conveniently rationalizing others’ behavior. But expanding the definition of clinical terminolo is outside of our scope as non-mental health professionals, and it’s probably doing more harm than good.

If you’re like me and have used these terms in casual conversation it’s important to ask yourself: could you articulate the di erence between venting and “trauma dumping?” Do you know the diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder? Even so, are you the right

person to diagnose your ex?

Chances are, these are things you should discuss with a mental health professional rather than jumping to your own conclusions.

But the harm in misusing mental health language goes beyond mixing up a definition or two. Misused “therapy speak” has become a “Get-out-of-accountability-free Card,” and it’s starting to lose its meaning. I know from experience.

I like to think of “therapy speak” like a painkiller. Di erent people have di erent needs.

If you’re prone to migraines, there’s nothing wrong with taking aspirin more than the average person. When needed, there’s nothing wrong with taking a clinical approach. When needed, there’s nothing wrong with relying on valuable coping and communication strategies.

But when you resort to a quick fix in cases where you could otherwise get by, those quick fixes become less e ective. You might start

to build a resistance when you use Advil for every scrape and bump. You might find the people around you become resistant to “therapy speak” when it’s used in every disagreement. The bottom line is, for most people, not every problem requires a clinical solution.

“Therapy speak” is a powerful tool, but if we want to keep it that way, we have to think about when and how we use it.

I hadn’t re-considered my relationship with “therapy speak” until I found myself compelled to explain away my own bad behavior. Sparing you the gory details, I recently ghosted a promising “talking stage.” At the time, I really enjoyed getting to know them, but I eventually panicked. I stopped responding to text messages and follow-ups, and I decided it had been too long to respond at all.

I felt uncomfortable. I felt guilty. I didn’t like what I had done. But even worse, I found myself wanting to use “therapy speak” to explain away my behavior. I wanted to text them that I have a horrible tendency to get terribly anxious and to drop o the face of the earth and that it was “nothing personal.” It was just an issue with my anxiety.

But it wasn’t about me. I had hurt someone else’s feelings. Deep down, I knew that connecting my bad behavior to my anxious tendencies was powerful. I knew it would be something di cult to respond to. I knew it was wrong.

Instead, I needed to text them. I needed to apologize. I needed to be held accountable and to figure out why on my own terms.

A conversation addressing the issue head-on and working through why I found myself compelled to run away is one I need to have. But, it’s not one that includes the person I wronged. It’s a conversation I need to save for myself, or given the opportunity, for my therapist.

Save it for your therapist: A call to reconsider our relationship with mental health language
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‘Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person’ is what it says on the tin

With a title like “Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person,” you pretty much know what you’re getting into.

Director Ariane Louis-Seize is well aware of this, and the beginning of the film is refreshing in how it gets right to the point. There are no long, inconsequential scenes showing us how vampires work or hammering home the fact that they need blood to survive. Everything we need to know comes in the first couple of minutes.

Sasha (Sara Montpetit) is a young vampire who drinks blood from hospital bags because she can’t bring herself to kill anyone, but her disappointed parents are cutting o her supply. Paul (Félix-Antoine Bénard) is a depressed, ostracized high schooler who goes to a suicide support group. Soon, they meet.

“Humanist Vampire” is an existential story that raises questions about what life really means. To what extent can we forge our own path rather than fulfilling the role that society expects of us? How can we find what we want to do with our

lives? What makes a life worth living, and could it be justified to throw it away?

These ideas underlie the lead duo’s deadpan, charmingly awkward conversations as they roam the night together, with Sasha forcing Paul to stand up to his bullies before she drinks his blood.

The real creativity lies in making this film a coming-ofage story. Both characters are teenagers — ignoring that Sasha is technically 68 because vampires age more slowly — lending a sense of charm and realism to the film. The film’s themes don’t really tread any new ground, but they ring true for young outsiders working to find their place in the world.

This charm is supported by a set of strong performances, particularly by Montpetit, whose flair for small variations in expression and inflection elevates her character and establishes her as someone to watch in the future.

The acting strength is most apparent in the film’s best scene, which occurs after Sasha invites Paul to her bedroom for their arrangement. What fol-

Comedian Kathy Griffin to perform in Madison after sixyear break

Comedian Kathy Griffin is bringing her new tour “My Life on the PTSD-List” to the Madison Overture Center on April 21. The tour marks her return to the stage after a sixyear break from performing.

In her two-hour show, Griffin reflects on recent experiences, tells stories about celebrity encounters and reveals what it’s like to experience PTSD.

“It’s all upside down, and I’m just trying to make sense of it, and make it funny,” Griffin told The Daily Cardinal in a sitdown interview. “You gotta find the humor, God knows I have. I can laugh at the darkest shit you can imagine because that’s what gets me through.”

lows is the pair silently listening to Brenda Lee’s “Emotions” on vinyl in a single shot that rivals its counterpart in “Before Sunrise.” Their facial expressions and alternating attempts to dance convey more thoughts on life and death than any of their subsequent conversations.

Unfortunately, “Humanist Vampire” doesn’t follow through on its full promise. It wraps up too cleanly and neatly, with a few too many plot contrivances and character inconsistencies for comfort. It doesn’t really answer any of the questions it raises, which admittedly would be quite di cult but is disappointing nonetheless. The film fails to justify its timetable as the resolution to the conflict feels as if it could just as easily have happened several years prior or later.

The film is entertaining regardless, with some genuine heart under its sharp wit and a surprising number of laugh-out-loud moments. “Humanist Vampire” is a nice crowd-pleaser for fans of dry, somewhat-edgy comedy but falls short of the fantastic film it could have been.

‘Do Not Expect Too Much From the End of the World’ is a bold, brash film

“Do Not Expect Too Much From the End of the World” is a shamelessly modern and irreverent film, blending cinema history with politics in a way that is refreshing and captivating and reminding us of what movies can do.

The film is about a hectic day in the life of Angela, a young production assistant in Bucharest, as she drives around to interview those injured in workplace accidents for a workplace safety advertisement.

The first thing that’s apparent

about the film is its intense cultural critique with a deep knowledge of cinema history. The film introduces the title of its first part on a notecard in a notso-subtle nod to the music video for Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues.” This sets the stage for the metatextual style director Radu Jude employs to comment on the contemporary Western world by extensively referencing other films and cinema history.

Like Dylan, Jude uses references to previous works to create his own artistic themes regard-

ing the absurdities of the current political moment defined by wars, the rise of far-right ideology and increasing corporatism.

The film heavily draws footage from the 1981 Romanian film “Angela Goes On,” incorporating characters from that film and splicing in scenes to convey that despite the collapse of communism and all of the social change of the past 40 years, neither Romania’s working conditions nor culture have significantly changed. The black-and-white cinematography and the conversations regarding current political devel-

While the past six years have been “incredibly dark,” Griffin said she is grateful to be back on stage where she feels at home, seeing performing as a way to manage past trauma. Between her infamous cancellation and her battle with lung cancer, Griffin said she is excited to be performing again.

Griffin said she hopes to enlighten audiences about her recent experiences as well as recount America’s struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic and the tumultuous nature of the nation’s current political climate.

“It’s a combination of what it feels like to have PTSD,” Griffin said. “I feel like our country has gone through a collective PTSD over the past few years.”

Griffin said she hopes that audiences will be receptive to her return and not come simply to protest her based on her past with former President Donald Trump. She is ready to move on, she said, and does not mention Trump in her show.

However, as she always has, Griffin continues to address current events. Through combining social advocacy with comedy, she said she hopes to shed light on the issues our country faces.

Griffin has used her platform countlessly throughout her career to discuss social move-

opments like the Russo-Ukrainian War and the death of Elizabeth II call to mind the 1960s work of JeanLuc Godard, a filmmaker explicitly mentioned in Jude’s film.

This can be seen as Jude drawing a parallel between himself and Godard in their examination of how cinema responds to and influences the world. It’s a lot to chew on, but “Do Not Expect Too Much From the End of the World” is a film that takes a humorously unabashed look at the confusion of a post-COVID world defined by late-stage capitalism.

Playing with more modern media formats, many of the film’s color sequences during Part A come from the use of Instagram and TikTok videos, where Angela uses filters to adopt a sex-obsessed,

ments, including BLM, the gay rights movement and feminism.

“I have no trepidation, I’m going for it, fuck it,” Griffin said. “I do a show about the shit I think we need to talk about. I shine a light on the cockroaches and watch them scatter.”

For people who do come to protest, Griffin said such displays will not be tolerated during her performance. Over the past several years, she has faced a lot of public scrutiny, both on and off the stage, and said she is ready to perform without disturbances.

“It will not be tolerated. I’ve had a lot of experience with MAGA people trying to disrupt my show. It will not happen, I will not get o stage,” Gri n said. “If you want to sit there and laugh and have a good time, then please come to my show. But if you’re going to judge me or try to put me in my place or join a protest, you will be removed.”

Beyond her recent traumatic experiences, Griffin said she wants to give audiences a show that gives them a break from the chaotic state of the country.

“I want to give people two hours to forget about everything. I do a high-octane show, the show is fun, and it’s laughs and it’s real,” Griffin said. “So far, the audiences have been outstanding. Never in my life have audiences been this loving.”

When she hits the stage in Madison, Griffin said she’s ready with tons of material and improvisation. Every show is different and covers varying material.

“I could improvise a little or a lot, it depends,” Griffin said. “I don’t know what I’m going to say on stage in Madison, and the audience won’t know what I’m going to say.”

Throughout her tour, Griffin said she hopes that she can continue to build her decades-long relationship with her audiences and reconnect with her comedy.

“I have been living a nightmare, and I’m just coming out of it,” Griffin said. “All I want to do is make people laugh.”

misogynistic alter ego as a parody of influencers like Andrew Tate. This serves as an ingenious commentary on the mind-numbing content being pushed through algorithms while also engaging with digital media.

The best part of the film is its humor. The entire picture is saturated with gallows humor that delightfully pokes fun at everything from the gig economy to the American epidemic of mass shootings, causing the auditorium at the April 7 Wisconsin Film Festival screening to constantly erupt in laughter.

This is a film that knows exactly what it wants to say and knows how to say it in a way that is never intrusive but fresh and exciting with each new punchline.

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A fresh pair of eyes unlock the secrets of daddy long-legs evolution

A recent discovery by University of Wisconsin-Madison associate professor Prashant Sharma and postdoctoral researcher Guilherme Gainett revealed more information about daddy longlegs, the arachnid family members known as “harvestmen,” that unlocked secrets about the species’ evolution with the discovery of two new pairs of eyes.

“The understanding was that they always have a maximum of one pair of eyes,” Sharma said. Specifically, Sharma said these two eyes were median eyes, which in spiders are for creating sharp images.

But Sharma and Gainett’s research discovered that spiders don’t have just one pair of eyes. They have three.

Sharma said a fossil was discovered in 2014 that revealed a harvestman with not one, but two pairs of eyes. Following this discovery, Sharma said researchers had assumed that the second pair of eyes, the lateral ones, were lost.

“That suggests that, like most other groups of arthropods, daddy longlegs started out with two pairs of eyes, but they lost one pair along the way,” he said.

Shockingly, this was not the case.

More recently, when they began looking at the genes that were important to other animals, they found opsin proteins in the lateral part of the daddy longlegs’ head, Gainett said.

“We started seeing expression of these genes in the region where those lateral eyes should have been,” he said.

Daddy longlegs are among the oldest terrestrial animals, with the earliest fossils dating back to nearly 420 years ago. Gainett added that daddy longlegs are part of a group of arachnids called Opiliones, which don’t spin silk and don’t have venom.

But the researchers’ discovery implies harvestmen have been around for 75-100 million years longer than previously thought, according to Sharma. He said they were likely a part of an established ecosystem as far back as the Devonian period.

But that’s not all. Sharma said the third pair of eyes they discovered, the rudimentary median eyes, are important from an evolution of vision standpoint. Rudimentary median eyes are only known to occur in two other groups of animals in the anthropoid division: horseshoe crab embryos and sea spiders, according to Sharma.

Additionally, Gainett said the common ancestor of horseshoe crabs and daddy longlegs likely had four pairs of median eyes, and one pair was reduced.

Gainett, now a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard Medical School, said he looks forward to studying how lateral eyes changed in spiders and horseshoe crabs. He also hopes to discover whether these new pairs of eyes have a function. Sharma said he is planning to study what type of molecules are prioritized in different harvestman eyes.

“I think it’s fascinating that it’s 2024, and we’re still learning about basic things, like how many eyes this animal has,” Gainett said.

Superior rejects gas plant proposal, citing environmental concerns

In a victory for community environmental advocates, the city of Superior halted plans for the construction of a large gas plant near the Nemadji River and Lake Superior after grassroots organizations and citizens rallied against the project.

Originally approved by city o cials in 2020, the gas plant proposal faced mounting opposition from groups of citizens, tribal leaders, healthcare professionals and environmentalists.

The Superior City Council took a decisive stand against the proposed Nemadji Trail Energy Center (NTEC) on April 4 when it rejected Minnesota Power’s requests for further deliberation and upheld the recommendation of its planning commission, e ectively halting the gas plant’s development.

Abby Novinska-Lois, executive director of Healthy Climate Wisconsin, emphasized the impacts of the proposed gas plant on public health and the environment in a recent interview with The Daily Cardinal.

“Gas has a lot of community health impacts,” Novinska-Lois said, citing concerns ranging from cognitive impairments in children to respiratory issues and cancers associated with gas extraction and combustion.

In 2022 federal environmental regulators estimated the project, if completed, could cause $2 billion in climate damages from greenhouse gas emissions through 2040 and give o an estimated 2.7 million tons of carbon emissions each year, though the numbers are disputed by regulators and

the Environmental Protection Agency.

Moreover, the proposed site’s proximity to Indigenous burial grounds sparked significant environmental justice concerns. The city returned the land to the tribe in 2022 as a significant gesture of reconciliation, according to Wisconsin Public Radio.

“You just gave that land back, you’re making healing progress and then to go back on that by building an industrial site on top of it? That has a tremendous impact on the mental health of Indigenous peoples,” Novinska-Lois said.

Superior’s existing environmental challenges, including high air toxin risk and industrial accidents, further underscored the need for alternative energy solutions.

Advocates believe the grassroots efforts that led to this victory highlight the power of community mobilization and civic engagement, Novinska-Lois said. “Just listen to your constituents, challenge what you’re hearing, and do some behindthe-scenes research.”

Healthy Climate Wisconsin, along with other environmental advocacy groups like the Sierra Club, focused their efforts on informing and engaging the community to better understand the issues at hand, according to the groups’ websites.

Healthy Climate Wisconsin is an organization led by nurses, doctors, public health workers and health professionals from across Wisconsin, while the Sierra Club is one of the largest grassroots environmental organizations in the United States.

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