Special Section

Back To School

Volume One’s celebration of education, because knowledge is power!

V1 Staff |

  That’s right, kids. It’s that time of the year again – the end of the shimmering summer sun and late bedtimes, and the beginning of dissatisfying brown-bag lunches and aromatic rides in long yellow vehicles. But, alas, all is not lost. Volume One’s got you saved by the bell. Though sans Kelly Kapowski, this ultimate resource has a lot going for it, from tips to stylize your living quarters and hot shopping items to a guide to downtown and unusual clubs. So while you’re trying to look awake during lectures, plop this sucker on your gum-covered desk and longingly cleave its signature-laden, college-ruled pages. 


Editor/Writer/Photographer: Trevor Kupfer

Contributors: O.J. Hornung, Claire Jeffries, Robin Kinderman, Karline Koehler, Mark Koenig, Mike Paulus, Eric Rasmussen, Emily Thierfelder, and Abi Zimmer.

Photos: Ashley Dziuk, Jesse Johnson, Andrea Paulseth, and Sarah Word.
Design: Brian Moen

Thanks to all the contributors’ moms and/or dads for sending us embarrassing yearbook photos.



High beams
What’s with the massive influx of neon and blinking décor emanating from windows and porches throughout town, you may ask. When all the movie posters are being used to cover up holes made from metal-tipped darts, your typical student duplex resident is left with very few options for exterior decoration. Added to which is the painful thought of putting up holiday lights when the rest of the world does. Thus the fledgling adults break out the bright lights, which accomplish two things simultaneously: annoy the neighbors and unashamedly announce “party ova he-ya.”


One of the first things to tip you off about the arrival of students will come at your local supermarket. As you browse the pasta and rice aisle, you’ll notice the waning amounts of Easy Mac and Ramen. Thankfully, these microwavable meals – that students have been known to survive solely on for more than four years at a time – aren’t in high demand by any other group.

Yard riff-raff
If you’re ever in need of bean bags, golf balls held together with rope, or ping pong balls, the arrival of students will be a quintessential proliferation celebration. All three of these items are detrimental to common yard game activities played by this strange, youthful breed. But when players hear the new Kanye West* single, they run inside the house and show off to their friends by shouting the lyrics. As such, they forget about the game they were playing just seconds before and these items often wind up on lawns throughout the student-housing district overnight.


* Britney Spears sometimes has this effect as well.



10. The aroma of freshly sharpened pencils

9. Slow-dancing to Stairway to Heaven and, when the fast part kicks in, just standing there wondering if you should just keep dancing slow or pick up the pace, eventually opting to separate and run out to the parking lot to puke up peach schnapps

8. When you need a smock for art class, reaching into dad’s closet to steal a shirt, which he will say is his favorite when later scolding you no matter which one you pick

7. Getting a snack after a game, even if you lost

6. Opening your pouch of Shark Bites, a must-have in the brown-bag cold lunch, to find that you got like four white ones

5. Making that tough decision when securing your construction-paper project together: the blue glue (always a fun, colorful choice) or the paste (a solid option that will no doubt tempt you to taste that stuff again)

4. That feeling of rebelliousness when applying toilet paper to houses during Homecoming

3. Learning history from Oregon Trail, equations from Math Blasters, and geography from Carmen Sandiego

2. Healing the most catastrophic of playground injuries with an ice pack wrapped in brown paper towel

1. Recess


5. Two-a-day athletic practices

4. Waking up the morning the science project is due, nine months after your teacher assigned it, and realizing you’ve done absolutely nothing so you throw together a solar system made of metal hangers or a volcano that erupts with vinegar and baking soda

3. Swirlies/wedgies/snakebites

2. The what-you-did-this-summer themes

1. The pink sawdust


1. If your roommate dies, you get straight A’s (Dead Man on Campus and Dead Man’s Curve)

2. If you’re in a gang, your teacher will either hunt you down (The Substitute) or get you to join a choir (Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit)

3. If you’re attractive or willing to dye your skin, Harvard isn’t that hard to get into (Legally Blonde and Soul Man)

4. Detention will make everyone (geeks, troublemakers, populars, potheads, jocks) best friends (The Breakfast Club)

5. Janitors may very well be smarter than teachers (Good Will Hunting)

6. Ugly students need only take off their glasses to be sexy (She’s All That)

7. For those involved in an elitist clique, your uppance will come (Heathers and Mean Girls)

8. Don’t harass the outsiders, they could be telekinetic (Carrie), have intense knowledge of camera equipment (Revenge of the Nerds), have access to some serious weaponry (Elephant), or a Halloween mask and voice changer-thingy (Scream)

9. Carpe diem (Dead Poets Society)

10. If you need an after-school job, look after a cranky blind guy that says “hoo ha” a lot; they come in handy (Scent of a Woman)

11. Some schools keep a jet under the basketball court (X-Men)

12. If you want to be class president, make sure you dance (Napoleon Dynamite) and vote for yourself (Election)

13. If you want to be good at basketball, become a werewolf (Teen Wolf)

14. George Clinton makes for a pretty funkadelic fundraiser (PCU)

15. A slow clap does a lot to boost locker room morale (Hoosiers, Lucas, and The Mighty Ducks)

16. If we were stranded on an island with our classmates, we’d probably kill each other (Lord of the Flies)

17. Break-ups, pregnancy, dropouts, and summer nights. High school is tough, but made all the more enjoyable when singing/dancing (Grease)

18. O’Doyle rules (Billy Madison)

19. Not even Kurt Vonnegut knows what he’s writing about (Back to School)

20. Wizard and superhero schools are way cooler than yours (Harry Potter and Sky High)

21. Coke and Pop Rocks will not kill you, a serial killer will (Urban Legend)

22. Never do something bad last summer (I Know What You Did Last Summer)

23. A patient teacher can turn the most rude youths into cultured up-and-comers in no time (To Sir, With Love)

24. As long as you land a gig at Rolling Stone, high school is totally skippable (Almost Famous)

25. You don’t have to be prom king to be in a parade (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)

26. The best day of school is always the last (Can’t Hardly Wait, American Graffiti, and Dazed and Confused)

27. The best way to get the girl is to out-ski her popular boyfriend (Better Off Dead) or serenade her with a boom box (Say Anything)

28. Save Latin (Rushmore)

29. Homeless people that live in the library are, like, really freaking smart (With Honors)

30. Hoity toity schools have lame societies (The Skulls)

31. High school cliques are suspiciously sinister (Brick)

32. When it comes to making out, put on side one of Led Zeppelin IV (Fast Times at Ridgemont High)

33. Never accept pastries from an enemy (Van Wilder)

34. Don’t steal cheers from dancers that are better than you. You’ll get served (Bring it On)

35. Unleash the fury (Road Trip)

36. If you want to overthrow the faculty and staff, get The Ramones (Rock n Roll High School)

37. Your teachers may very well be aliens (The Faculty and Men in Black)

38. If you’re on double secret probation, the only solution is a toga party (Animal House)

39. If you go streaking, make sure others will follow (Old School)

40. Most people don’t know 3M Corp, so go ahead and say you invented Post-its (Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion)





With all those late-night cramming sessions and the inevitable Scantron nightmares that follow, not to mention the fourth floor versus third floor Halo 3 tournaments, students need to catch up on sleep during those lulls between classes. But try to keep these comfy locales to yourself, or else soon everyone will be cramping your style and impeding that 15-minute power nap that makes all the difference in your caffeine-fueled day.

10. Bench across from the computer lab in Haas Fine Arts

9. The couches in UWEC’s The Cabin

8. Don and Nona Williams Stadium (with fresh turf)

7. The back of class (careful, not professor approved)

6. Somewhere near a clock tower (to wake you up just in time)

5. The couches on the second floor of UWEC’s Davies Center

4. The wings of any theater or auditorium (if you get cold, just pull down on the curtains)

3. The fifth floor of McIntyre Library

2. Hibbard Hall Penthouse (temporarily inhabited by Specties)

1. On the craps table in Stout’s gaming management lab 

Despite what you students may think, Water Street is not Eau Claire’s downtown. It’s a key business hub, but the full college experience isn’t complete until you’ve been downtown. Lucky for you, we’ve made it really easy for you to navigate on over to the historic and redeveloping downtown with this map, which details cool places along the way and several popular landmarks.

by Mark Koenig

     How did I, an unorganized 18-year-old laundry-producing miracle of microwave science, survive two semesters holed up in a closet-sized room with a stranger, no parents, no siblings, no chores or home cooking?

     HA!  Well, for one thing that’s exactly how I survived because my parents, siblings, and chores were miles away and home cooking was a block or two away at the nearest pizza joint. The best and most challenging year of a pre-real world adult’s life is evolving in the dorm room and dealing with a laundry list of choices.

    I’m not here to preach about the trappings of freshman dorm living, or how I (yes, even me) threw away a good semester spending too much time in the dorm(s) doing everything but study. No, I’m here to assist you, dorm rookie, in utilizing all at your disposal to make it through the semesters smoothly in your living space with little to no bad grades, boring weekends, or broken hearts. So, good luck, look forward to a lifetime of memories and remember to keep an open mind.

Decorating Your Dorm:

• Bean bags – These multi-faceted devices are chairs, beds, and they’re comfy as hell!!

• Bamboo shoots – Some green will get you through those blustery northern Wisconsin winters. Plus, all they need is water.

• Cheap fabrics and shower curtains – They double as blinds or closet doors!

• Returnable beer cases – If you can find them, use them. They are extremely sturdy for use as side tables, chairs, and storage. Just find someone old enough to buy them, have them drink the beer inside, and you’re all set.

• Decorative lights – String them among your bunk and ceiling for a holiday effect or set the mood for …  whatever mood you want to set.

• Ottomans – They can offer more mobile seating and additional storage (for those with removable tops).

• Starry Eyed – Simulate outer space and throw some of those glow-in-the-dark solar systems on your ceiling.

• Wallpaper, sort of – When you’ve got extra wrapping paper, toss it on the walls and ceiling for some more décor.

• Carpet samples – Grab ’em at the local flooring store to provide extra floor color for cheap or even free.

• Random Gems – Hit the bricks during the rummaging season (Eau Claire’s Vine Street is especially solid). You can always find some decorative items in local garages and driveways.

Personalizing Your Personal Space:

• Pictures, pictures, pictures – You will miss friends and family, and having their presence among your living space will give the much-needed morale boost you sometimes need.

• Magazine/newspaper clippings – Tape them up to flash some of a favorite famous faces, or else just cover spots where paint is chipping.

• Fortunes – Save your favorite cookie-dispensed limericks and display them for all to covet. 

• Cover your door – Something, anything will do. Try wrapping paper, post-its, postcards, random sketches, or doodles. The dry-erase board is also a must.

• Quotes – From Bob Dylan to Jessica Simpson, jot down those favorite quotes and post them up.

• Window etchings – Buy some window markers and tell those outside your dorm your point of view.

• And most importantly, bring a camera so you can document all activities, embarrassing or otherwise.


A Sustainable Situation:

• Recycle everything possible.

• Lay-off the disposable cups and plates – buck up and do some dishes.

• Instead of napkins utilize a few dish towels and wash in your weekly laundry.

• Use a water bottle instead of buying bulk water. It’s cheaper and greener!

• Fluorescent light bulbs: a little more money but longer lasting and much more efficient.

• Print on both sides of your printer paper.

• Conserve energy: plug all electronics into a power strip that can be turned off when not being used.

• Remember when your grade school and/or high school forced you to cover your books with a protective layer?  Well, don’t give up now! Conserving the quality of your textbooks can save the university a lot of money each semester – plus, it’s a fresh doodle surface!

• If you are lucky enough to have a car, park it and use public transportation or your legs. Most everything is within walking distance of area dorms and universities.

And if you’re really ambitious … *

“A friend of a friend once brought a plastic kiddie pool into his dorm room and managed to hide it long enough to create his own personal hot tub for about two weeks before an RA found out and made him remove it. Apparently, he just used a few jugs to fill it up with water from the bathroom.”

– Emily Theirfelder

* Not actually recommended


A cross-section of cool programs/places that anyone in the community can take advantage of at Chippewa Valley schools.

Foster Art Gallery and Furlong Gallery

Located at UW-Eau Claire’s Haas Fine Arts Center and UW-Stout’s Micheels Hall, respectively, the Foster Art Gallery and Furlong Gallery exhibit diverse artwork from students, faculty, national, and international artists. “Our mission is to introduce the university and Eau Claire communities to current trends in the global art world,” says Tom Wagener, director of Foster Art Gallery. The first exhibit opens Sept. 11 and showcases the work of art faculty Lia Johnson and Scott Robertson. Both galleries are open to the public and rotate about every month. – Abi Zimmer

Preschool Story Time

While the big kids crack open the big books, assistant professor and educational librarian Kati Tvaruzka is giving younger children ages 3-5 years old a chance to go literary with her 30-minute storytelling sessions the last Tuesday of each month. Hosted on the lower level of the McIntyre Library in the Instructional Media Center at 10am, story-time includes songs, finger plays, and movement activities led by Tvaruzka, foreign exchange students, or other student organizations. “The children love to have stories read to them from people from all around the world,” says Tvaruzka. “We have a built-in audience enrolled in the UW-Eau Claire Children’s Center.” However, it’s been a delight for Tvaruzka to see general community members join the crowd. Storytime goes from September to April and is open to all. – Abi Zimmer

Viennese Ball

Brush up your waltz and polish those glass shoes because the whole city is invited to the ball. Hosted every April by UW-Eau Claire in the Davies Center, the Viennese Ball is the largest of its kid (outside of Vienna, Austria). Strains of waltz music float onto the dance floor from the University Symphony Orchestra, and Jazz Ensemble 1 gets the dancers jumping and jiving with tunes from the Big Band Era. For those with a German bent, one room is dedicated entirely to polka. Fancy hors d’oeurves and desserts grace the tables, and when you need to put your feet up, there’s choral music and harpists for some easy listening. Tickets range from $25 to $38, and no one need go home by midnight. – Abi Zimmer

Technology Classes

Wondering how to make a graph in Excel? The Eau Claire Area School District is offering basic level computer classes for adults in Microsoft programs, web searching, and more.  “We hope students gain an understanding of application and a comfort level with the computer,” says Sarah Paul, Technology Staff Development Specialist. Eight different hands-on classes are offered every quarter and class sizes are kept small – less than 20 students. “The students are going to get a lot a more out of individualized training than just grazing over questions,” says Paul. Classes meet once a week for six weeks at South Middle School. If interested, contact Julie Steuck at 852-3083 to register by Sept. 11 for this fall’s first quarter. – Abi Zimmer

Campus Films

The International Film Society and the University Activities Commission committees select and present films on the UW-Eau Claire campus every semester. Blue Devil Productions has a similar program at UW-Stout, and is likewise open to students, staff, and community members for a nominal fee. While BDP often screens domestic movies (both indie and mainstream), UWEC opts for a wide variety of countries, cinematic styles, and perspectives. See Volume One’s special showings in the cinema section for listings of these cinematic events. – Claire Jefferies

Artists Series and Forum

These UW-Eau Claire programs invite unique, world-class performing artists and inspiring speakers for an evening of entertainment and enlightenment. Some of the upcoming Artists Series performances include: the Yu Wei Chinese Dance Collection, pianist Alexandre Tharuad, and the Hubbard Street 2 Chicago Dance Company. The Forum, meanwhile, will include a genetically modified organism lecture by Jeffrey M. Smith, U.S. foreign policy review by Tariq Ali, and a geopolitics discussion by John Perkins. Enjoy a taste of elegant world culture right here in Dairyland, or broaden your education to finally win a debate with the in-laws. – Claire Jefferies


If you like frugal, relaxing evenings under the stars (sans light pollution), check out UW-Eau Claire’s planetarium. For just $2, relax with the unfading beauty of nebulas, galaxies, and Orion’s belt. Located in L.E. Phillips Science Hall, just inside the bird museum, the planetarium runs every Tuesday night with children’s shows every Saturday morning. “More Than Meets the Eye” kicks off September, comparing naked-eye views of celestial objects with views from different telescopes and professional observatories. It also makes for a romantic evening. – Claire Jefferies



Do you remember that time in middle school when your friends made fun of you because of your hobby? You may have thought that you were the only one in the world that liked playing Dungeons and Dragons while eating Cheetos and sorting your Pogs, but when you get to college you’ll find that there is probably an official group dedicated to doing just that! Here are a few of the out-of-the-ordinary organizations at campuses or high schools in the Chippewa Valley.

North High School Juggling Club

“Juggling builds dendrites,” says Jim Jeffries, advisor for the North High School’s Juggling Club. “You get smarter when you juggle.  That would appear to be counter-intuitive when you consider the fact that when you juggle, you do increasingly stupid things.  Take juggling chainsaws...you would think that we would have been eliminated from the gene pool long ago.” Nonetheless, jugglers are alive and throwing on Mondays after school outside of Jeffries’ classroom. With balls, rings, diabolos, and cigar boxes falling through the air, students have learned to avoid that particular hallway if they’re not up to a good time. While advanced members may perform, the cooperative atmosphere of the group invites everyone at every level to unwind, sit back, and throw a ball. – Abi Zimmer

Campus Kitchens Project

Even after hordes of students have swarmed campus cafeterias, ate their fill, and left, trays of food wait to be served. With the new organization launching this fall at UW-Eau Claire, the Campus Kitchens Project will not let that food be wasted, “repurposing” it to community members who need it most. “What we do is kind of a no-brainer,” says advisor Donald Mowry, director of the service-learning and first year experience center. “We know there are people in each community who need nourishing meals. And, we know that every college campus has unserved food in its dining halls and brilliant students in its classrooms. So we put them all together.” With its mission of “teach, reach, feed, and lead,” CKP hopes to recycle 50 to 100 meals twice each week and steadily increase with students planning menus, delivering food, organizing fundraisers, and teaching culinary skills to unemployed adults. – Abi Zimmer

Bass Fishing Club

Sure, there’s the idea of fishing peacefully on a beautiful lake surrounded by nature with the exciting snooze here or there, but why not add a competitive edge? UW-Eau Claire’s Bass Club fishes local tournaments with hopes to qualify for nationals. Tournaments involve gaining information about the lake and doing background research. “You usually get a certain amount of days beforehand to fish the lake and get to know it,” says Andrew Gullickson, president of the club. “After that, it’s all up to the fish.” The club usually meets monthly in the Outdoor Recreation Center to teach people about bass fishing and prepare for tournaments. To find out more, contact Gullickson at gullicad@uwec.edu. – Abi Zimmer

Mah-Jong Club

Though usually associated with gambling, the Mah-Jong Club, going into its second semester at UW-Eau Claire, will take a friendlier approach to the game. Started because Chinese students were looking for a recreational outlet, the club obtained a couple game sets and began meeting every other week in Jazzman’s Café in the Davies Center. As people stop by to watch, the club hopes to teach others the Chinese game, introducing them to some Chinese culture and setting up tournaments. “In China, around holidays, people get together to play,” says the club’s advisor, Shu Chuan Cheng. “It’s a festive, noisy game.” Players may even pick up some Chinese phrases along the way. For more information, contact President Allen Wong at wongwl@uwec.edu. – Abi Zimmer


West African Music Society

Imagine several people sitting in a circle with djembes (a type of drum) between their knees and hands beating in synch and you have the West African Music Society. Led by community member Eugene Kulbeck, the club has about 30 rhythms in their repertoire and members learn about the culture, festivals, and songs that go with the rhythms. One aspect of the club is community service. “It’s all well and good to learn to play something, but you need to share it,” says Kulbeck. Since 1995, when they first played for a Nigerian musical performed at UWEC, the group has played in a variety of venues, including International Folk Fair, Percussion Recitals, Solstice Festival, Earth Day, Acoustic Café, and The Cabin. The club is open to anyone in the community who has the interest to learn. You can drop in Thursdays at 7:00pm in Phillips Recital Hall at Haas Fine Arts. – Abi Zimmer

Hacky Sack Club

The Hacky Sack Club at Memorial High School ran for three strong years before it stalled out. It started with a few interested students and evolved into a club, which met in Matt Palm’s (club advisor) jewelry room, where they’d push back the tables, and then start hacking. “I suppose [the club] was unique because we were doing something in school that traditionally is considered ‘illegal,’” said Palm. “Our t-shirts and our open music policy is what made it fun and healthy for everybody.” The club just needs some interest to get it going again. “The Hacky Sack Club is only waiting for a new kick start,” said Palm. – Claire Jefferies

Society for Creative Anachronism: Shattered Oak II

The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) is a historical group at the UW-Eau Claire campus dedicated to educating people about the Middle Ages. Their teaching approach: learn by doing. Learn about the Middle Ages by sewing your own medieval clothes, cook period food, sword fight, forge metal, cure Bubonic plague, and more. They meet at the Shire of Shattered Oaks every Sunday at 7pm at 414 North Farwell St. If you don’t have transportation, don’t worry! Just give the group a call (or send a carrier pigeon), and they will make sure you get there be it by car, by bus, or by horse. For more information, visit their website at www.uwec.edu/sca/. – Claire Jefferies

A few others:

Interscholastic Reading Team

Animé Appreciation

PONG: People’s Organization of Network Gaming

Model Railroad Builders

Irish Ceili Dancing

Ducks Unlimited

For more student organizations in the Chippewa Valley, check out these websites:

• UW-Eau Claire

• UW-Stout

• Memorial High School

• North High School

• Regis High School

• Altoona High School


Plasma clinic:

BioLife Plasma Services 1262 W. Clairemont Ave. • This Eau Claire facility dishes out $20 to participants that donate once a week and $45 for the second time that week. Although donating makes for really nice extra income, partiers are not encouraged to apply as the clinic monitors the donor’s iron, protein, and hydration levels and any higher-than-normal levels will lead to rejection (just like the middle school dances). It’s not all fun and games, either, as those with Hematophobia, or a fear of blood, probably won’t like it as they’ll have to stare at it throughout the donation period. Bring reading material, a personal music device, or laptop if you’re going to give plasma, because you’re going to be sitting still for a solid two hours. Blankets or a light jacket may also come in handy, as the saline solution makes you a little chilly. – Emily Theirfelder


Spin City • 2839 Mall Dr. and 2703 Birch St., Eau Claire • This fancy-shmancy laundrette sells fair trade coffee and tea, has wireless internet, TVs, and change machines that shoot out shiny dollar coins. The Mall Drive locale also has a kids play area and Ms. Pac Man machine. (both locations have a special on Wednesdays)

Scrub Hub • 4508 London Road, Eau Claire • The Scrub Hub is not only a laundromat, with a TV and internet for a minimal cost, but also has six tanning beds and four self-serve car washes. Open 8am to 10pm with a special on Tuesdays.

Meyers Quick Clean Center • 901 Water St., Eau Claire • On top of this laundromat’s TV, video gaming system, free coffee and spotter service, an attendant is on duty from 10am to 9pm providing the nicest service you can find, according to owner Wayne Meyers.

O’Meara Dry Cleaning & Laundry • 1400 N. Broadway, Menomonie 235-7510 • As the name suggests, this 24-hour laundry facility with television also has dry cleaning available.

Outback Wash and Coffee Shack • 1021 S. Broadway, Menomonie • This Australian-themed laundromat with Aboriginal art and photos of down under has a TV and is also connected to a coffee shop.

Norge Village Cleaners • 821 Main St., Menomonie • This full-service establishment, with television and coffee, also offers dry cleaning, steaming, and pressing. Open 7:30am to 9pm Monday through Thursday, and 7:30am to 8pm on Fridays.

Putnam Heights Quality Dry Cleaners • 515 E. Clairemont Ave., Eau Claire • This business specializes in dry cleaning, but also has a drop-off laundry service and do-it-yourself laundromat.

Queens Dry Cleaners and Laundromat • 1616 S Hastings Way, 2820 London Road, 2611 Moholt Dr., Eau Claire 832-9291, 832-2033, and 832-9554 • The Hastings Way establishment offers dry cleaning and custom washing for drop-off laundry, but all three locations have laundromats with TVs, refreshments, games, and snacks.

Risler’s Laundromat • 3233 Seymour Road, Eau Claire • This 24-hour facility has a TV and much-needed air conditioning.

Thrift Stores:

     There is one school supply that is way more important than pens or notebooks or a subscription to a website that sells term papers. Can you guess what it is? Clothes! Not only have studies proven that learning is seriously impacted when you are cold, but you will also have a seriously hard time flirting with that sexy chica/dude if your pasty butt is flapping in breeze coming off the overhead machine, not to mention the nasty noise it makes when you try to get up after sticking to a plastic chair. You could hit the mall or a big department store, but who’s got that kind of coin? We’re in an economic crisis, people!

     Thankfully, there are a bunch of local options for totally cheap clothing. Thrift stores! You will save yourself a break-in period on your pants, and it’s totally cred to wear actual retro garments, as opposed to frocks that that have been engineered to look retro. Plus, thrift store shopping is an endeavor on its own – finding the perfect deals and a gem of jacket or a treasure of a pair of shoes makes you feel like Indiana Jones. Not survive a nuclear-blast-in-a-fridge Jones, but the real, authentic trade-the-statue-for-a-bag-of-sand Indy.

     Salvation Army, 3310 Miller St., is Eau Claire’s smallest thrift store, square-footage wise, but it is definitely the place with most potential for monumental finds. Located across from Copp’s Foods, Salvation Army takes donations from around town, resells the items, and the money raised goes to important programs that combat poverty in the area. It’s shopping for a purpose, other than sexiness. Unfortunately, this hidden treasure of a store will close at the end of September, so get the last of your thrifting in soon.

     Goodwill, 3605 Gateway Dr., Eau Claire, and 2500 Hils Court, Menomonie, has a huge selection of clothes and other items from dishes to books (just like all the stores do).  Maybe you’ve seen the commercials with that charming delivery-guy – purchases at Goodwill support programs that help people get jobs. Wait a minute – jobs are what you’ll be needing, assuming you don’t sleep through your finals (again)! Goodwill is a big, brightly-lit store where you’ll find quite a few new items, as well.

     Savers, 2833 Mall Dr., now in a new location near Festival Foods, is the home of colored-ticket savings roulette, where on certain days certain colored tags receive a certain percent discount. Sure, there’s a system to it that you could learn to maximize your dollars, but it’s way more fun to find that perfect weird t-shirt, resolve yourself to paying $3 for it, and then glance up at the sign to learn that, no way will you be paying $3! That shirt is yours for $1.80! Also, here’s a bonus secret Savers tip: if you donate something, they’ll give you a coupon you can use in the store, so before you go, collect some of the crap you don’t need anymore. And Savers supports a good cause, too; they give to Easter Seals.

     Though the thrifting world was saddened to say goodbye to the eccentric Menomonie-based Johnny Lunchbox, we can gladly stop mourning as the store continues to operate through the worldwide internets. Now on eBay and at www.johnnylunchbox.com, is a fantastic place to buy, sell, or trade vintage clothing (especially accessories). So even if your debilitating social phobia prevents you from experiencing the thrill of in-store shopping, you can still look fly on the cheap.

     Though not as cheap as your typical thrift store, My Best Friend’s Closet, 3001 London Road, is the place to go if you insist on name brands for low prices. With Gap, Aeropostale, Abercrombie, Hollister, and American Eagle get-ups on hand, this store is much better than being forced to steal from your best friend’s closet. The store will also buy your used, name-brand clothing.

     Last is Eau Claire’s thrift store Mecca: Hope Gospel Mission, 2511 W. Moholt Dr. This place is so awesome it could only be contained in a former grocery store, the former Cassidy’s on Eau Claire’s west side.  All the other stores have a few couches for sale – this place has an entire furniture showroom area. All the other stores offer a few lamps – the Hope Gospel lighting section can be seen from space. Like the others, Hope Gospel’s profits support local programs that provide support and rehabilitation to impoverished locals. If Hope Gospel is your destination, set aside an afternoon and bring some water – it will be quite the journey.

     Whether you are being fashion conscious or cash conscious, local thrift stores are worth a stop.  And, of course, remember the thrift store shopping tips. Always try stuff on.  Stay focused. And wash your stuff before you wear it, just in case. Viva la secondhand!

– Eric Rasmussen