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The general Consensus of Unofficial St.

Patrick’s Day

Lindsay Frasco

General problem statement:

I would like to investigate the overall perception of Unofficial from various U of I

perspectives. I am interested in observing the undergraduate's point of view, the alumni’s point

of view, and the point of view of those who live in Champaign-Urbana. From there I plan on

observing possible universal beliefs shared by each group.

1. Specific problem statement:

I think that the University of Illinois is attempting to control and regulate a holiday that may

stand for different purposes than other people may assume. There is a common negative

connotation associated with the holiday and I would like to investigate if this is true by receiving

an overall census. I plan on comparing and contrasting the perceptions of everyone connected to

the holiday to create a broad perception of how students, alumni and the connecting

neighborhood perceive it.

I intend to talk with the undergraduates of the University of Illinois. They are the students

that attend the school, have friends that celebrate the holiday, and are present when the holiday

festivities occur. I will look into whether or not a majority of them participate in the holiday and

how they regard it. I also want to survey the graduates and alumni of the university. They are no

longer amerced in the culture to the extent that they once were, thus I think it would be

interesting to find out how they now view “unofficial”. I will observe their take on the holiday

now that they no longer attend. It will be exciting to see if they look back and laugh at the

holiday, preserve the holiday and defend the children celebrating it, or possibly even take a

stance against since they have graduated. Lastly I want to take a look at the resident’s of

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Champaign and Urbana’s stance. I desire to discover whether they frown upon the holiday or

take pride in the fact that such a well known event takes place in their town. I also want to

observe those who participate in the holiday verses those who are completely against it. My idea

is that these stories will reveal a broad voice of opinions. My thought is that by looking closely at

some of these stories I can find a connection between a wide variety of people to show that

Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day stands for more than binge drinking.

2. Plan

My method of researching is through interviews; I plan to interview a total of six people, two

students of the university, two alumni of the university, and two residents of either Champaign or

Urbana (the town that the University resides in). I will ask them questions regarding their

overall perception of the holiday, whether or not they think it should remain or be eradicated,

whether or not they think it is a problem or rather if they participate and enjoy the festivities.

From there I will compare and contrast my findings and distinguish if there are any common

responses that unify each audience.

Over Thanksgiving break I was talking with an Illinois alum, and I informally asked him

several of the questions stated above. It was interesting to find out that despite the fact that he is

ten years graduated, when the time in March rolls around, he still remembers Unofficial St.

Patrick’s Day. He said that he when he was in college him and his “buddies” always looked

forward to the holiday; he said despite the bad rap it gets with the higher authority, he doesn’t

think it will ever get abolished. He declared, “It’s something that U of I stands for, I can’t see

anyone taking that away from the students”. While he doesn’t think he would ever come back

and celebrate the holiday with the students now, being that he is 32 years old, he does always

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unconsciously remember the date and wish fun and safe experiences to all the college students

participating.

With that being said, I feel that informal conversations spark the most genuine opinions.

Thus, I wish to speak to my future interviewees in this same manner in order to detect their true

outlook on the holiday. I have considered that fact that I am only interviewing a small number of

people therefore causing my results to possibly be skewed, yet it would be impossible to

interview every single person that takes part in this holiday. Therefore, by simply gathering a

small sample, I hope to receive a taste of several perspectives enabling a wide-ranging standpoint

to be flushed out.

3. Secondary research for background:

I've done a literature search to see if anyone has collected or studied stories concerning

different perspectives of Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day, and I found numerous sources: First is a

resident’s perspective, followed by two student’s stance.

1. Tom Kacich wrote an article: Unofficial St. Patrick's Day, posted March 15th, 2005 at

08:16 PM by IlliniPundit, the website is as follows:

http://www.illinipundit.com/2005/03/15/unofficial-st-patricks-day

This article provides an opinion of a man (resident of Champaign), who was at work all

day in Champaign during the "unofficial" celebration and all he could was read about it

after the fact. The end result made his jaw drop.

2. The next article I read was more of an ode to Unofficial St. Patrick's Day, written by a

student at the University and posted in the Daily Illini. A tribute to the most inebriated

day of the year was written by Sujay Kumar and posted: 3/2/07 Section: Opinion

Columns

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This articles was actually more a poem written in preparation for the upcoming holiday,

stating that despite the fact that students will be inebriated, they will have a glorious day

with fellow students of all ages and groups of people.

3. Another source I looked into was student blogs. I feel that students truly express

themselves in these blogs so I made it a point to see what students had to say. One

blog I found at: http://www.ews.uiuc.edu/~stmoore1/patrick.html

This article explained the holiday and provided the events of the day from a student

perspective.

4. Archival/Primary research for background:

After having trouble searching on the online archives for data on Unofficial St.

Patrick’s Day, I decided to venture over to the University Archives to observe their

collection. I ended up finding numerous newspaper articles in reference to Unofficial, yet

since I was in search of articles pertaining to the diverse viewpoints of those in contact

with the holiday, I did not have much luck. While the student perspective was trouble-

free to find, the alumni and community perspectives were more difficult. For instance,

the sole excerpt I come across regarding the community perspective was written in 2006

titled, “UI: Take Control ‘before things get out of hand” found in the News Gazette. The

article said, “This is not a situation we can arrest our way out of, is it not solely a law

enforcement problem; it is a community problem”. The community acknowledgement

proves that as a whole they are involved in the repercussions of Unofficial’s festivities

and thus are working towards improving it.

While I managed to find some information on the community, I did not find the

type of alumni data I was looking for at the University Archives. I wanted to see whether

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they support the students or if they are working towards putting an end to this celebration.

Yet columns by alumni, on this subject, were unavailable.

In continuing my research persisted to stumble upon articles like “Green Beer

Anyone?” written by the student perspective on the traditions of the holiday. Living in a

college town one is more apt to land upon articles written by students, but that is nto to

say they are the only ones absorbed in the holiday.

5. Connection to Others' Research Questions and Plans
My research plan most likely overlaps numerous other students’ plans due to the
fact it is so complex. My proposal, involving the perception of 3 different groups of
people leaves plenty of room to branch into other questions. For instance, some student’s
proposition may simply to be discovering the opinion of only the alumni. While another
student’s proposal may be geared only towards the opinion of the residents. Regardless,
since I am researching the overall perception of the holiday, my research questions have
traits in common with anyone also researching opinions
It may be quite difficult to research, yet if I stick to my strategy, chose reliable
people to interview and document all of my findings I will successfully uncover the
overall perception of Unofficial from various U of I perspectives.

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The General Consensus of Unofficial

St. Patrick’s Day

Lindsay Frasco

Com 320

Susan Davis

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