WSU Pub Crawl celebrates friendship, tradition and change

WSU Pub Crawl

Wichita State is typically a quiet place on the weekends, but on a select Saturday each spring, the campus reawakens for a group of Shockers who have created a tradition all their own: the WSU Pub Crawl.

The crawl, now in its ninth year, began as a small affair. A group of upperclassmen from the Phi Delta Theta fraternity at Wichita State thought it would be a fun, and slightly humorous, way to spend a Saturday among friends.

“Originally it was a bit of a joke – we only had two bars near campus at the time: Kirby’s and The Fieldhouse,” said Alex Durano ’17, who helps coordinate the crawl each year.

But what began as a small gathering of friends has turned into an event that more than 100 alumni – old and new – look forward to each spring. As the campus has grown, so too has the crawl, which now includes stops on the Innovation Campus at Fuzzy’s or Social Tap, and the Shocker Grill and Lanes in the Rhatigan Student Center. Some years, if schedules aligned, it kicked off in the outfield of Eck Stadium.

“The event has gained traction and increased in popularity over the years,” said Durano. “The added stops show past and future alumni the progress the university has made.”

And alumni come from all over. Some fly in from places like Chicago, Denver and New York, all marking their calendars to return to their alma mater for the tradition and a reunion of friends from college. It has branched out as well, with significant others joining the pilgrimage to haunts old and new, and friends from the Wichita community getting a glimpse of all the campus has to offer.

In recent years, Durano and the other primary organizers, Josey McNorton ’17 and Taylor Freund ’15, have added a philanthropic element to the day.

“I typically design koozies themed with various artwork found around campus, such as Joan Miró’s mural, “Personnages Oiseaux,” or the sculpture of Millie the Millipede,” said Durano, who sells the koozies to attendees and donates all proceeds to the Shocker Support Locker. “Having a purpose to rally behind that could also benefit students on campus was a no-brainer. I had read an article about how many students face food insecurity and know the Shocker Support Locker is vital to supporting those struggling members of the Shocker community.”

As the crawl winds its way in a long line of participants from one stop to the next, those who attend know it’s much more than an opportunity to relive their “college glory days.” It’s a testament to the friendships that endure long after graduation, and a welcoming invitation to foster relationships between different generations of Shockers.

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