I am a Sconnie!
When I began college in 2001, I was your typical naive college freshman. Although I had traveled around the country a little, I didn’t know how different (not in a bad way) people could be depending on where they grew up in the country. Like I said – naive. I lived in a private dorm my freshman year and met people from all over the country: Minnesota, New York, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, and California.
One obvious difference I noticed immediately was how some of my fellow female college students stood out; the girls often wore brown Uggs, big sunglasses, North Face, and threw their hair into a I-just-rolled-out-of-bed ponytail. Their attitude was one of confidence and sometimes superiority (or at least how that’s how I interpreted it as an 18 year old). These UW students, during my four years there, slowly became known as Coasties. Many of them were from the East Coast but sometimes girls with a similar look or “swagger” were from Chicago or Minnesota.
*Side note: One reason UW has so many students from New Jersey and New York is that in the 1930s, it was common for universities to have a quota on how many Jewish students were accepted each year. The UW had no quota and welcomed them. Often times, when a parent attends a university, there’s a gentle (or sometimes forceful) push for the child to also attend the school; I would guess this is why the UW still has so many students from the East Coast.
My best friend my freshman year was from New York, but I definitely would not have labeled her a Coastie. I also became friends with girls who would’ve been deemed Coasties, so I have no beef with them. Like I said, I was more intimidated by them.
I have no clue who created this term and don’t know how people from the East Coast feel about it. But there was obviously enough of a difference between non-east coast students and these Coasties that this label was developed.
From the Coasties came Sconnies: people who embrace the Wisconsin lifestyle (according to Urban Dictionary). IMO, I always thought a Sconnie was someone who went to UW and was from Wisconsin. Again, I don’t know who created the term, whether it was a Sconnie him/herself or a Coastie in “retaliation.”
While researching this topic, I came across two videos: “I’m a Coastie” and, in response, “I’m a Sconnie.” (Check them out on Youtube if you’re interested.) Both drop stereotypes that are of course not true for everyone from the respective states but I take as being all in good fun. For example, I like cheese and beer but also drink Starbucks, wear big sunglasses, and have a pair of Uggs.
Anyways, all I’m trying to say is that I accept the Sconnie label and embrace my UW, beer-drinking, cheese-eating culture. While not all labels are positive and there’s an obvious difference between accepting a label and having one thrust upon you (that is a whole different conversation and one that is a little too heavy for this forum), I am totally happy wearing my Sconnie shirt.
I will be at the Badger game tomorrow as well. Go Badgers!