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On Wisconsin

Calvin College has over 4,300 students, but just half of those hail from the state of Michigan. The other half represent most of the other states in the union, plus a variety of foreign countries.

That's why Calvin's campus now and then includes such seemingly odd events as "a Wisconsin pizza party." Between the student body, faculty and staff there are over 100 folks at Calvin who hail from the dairy state.

And when they gathered in the basement of the Calvin Chapel for a pizza party they reveled in the chance to bash the Lions, boost the Packers and pine for old-fashioned Wisconsin bratwurst. Many did so while sporting the colors of the beloved Pack or the Badgers of U-W.

The inspiration for the party came from Calvin basketball coach Kevin Vande Streek, a Wisconsin native. He was inspired by similar gatherings of Iowans that have been going on at Calvin for years. Calvin psychology professor Wayne Joosse, another "cheesehead," did most of the planning.

The festivities kicked off with a mixer game in which people had to get signatures from other people who fit into certain Wisconsin-related categories. Soon the pizza arrived, and the everyone sat down to eat dinner and enthusiastically swap Wisconsin gossip. Students signed up to share rides back to Wisconsin, while in the background coach Vande Streek showed highlights of the Packersí 1997 Superbowl victory.

After dinner Joosse led a Wisconsin trivia contest in which natives demonstrated their knowledge of the State Flower (wood violet), the altitude of Milwaukee (634 feet above sea level) and the year Wisconsin entered the Union (1848), among other facts. The group paused for dessert, frosted chocolate cake in the shape of Wisconsin, and then wrapped up the festivities with more Wisconsin-related games and activities. All agreed that the night was a great success.

"We'll definitely do it again," said Joosse.

--with reporting by media relations writer Abe Huyser-Honig (class of 2004)

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Contact Phil de Haan.