Crash Course for Famous People

Reading the Room 101: A Crash Course for Famous People

By Emily Knepple

Global pandemic? What better way to appeal to the masses than with an Instagram live, or a majorly tone-deaf video of people singing “Imagine” whose net worth could probably pay for you and I’s (out-of-state) tuition, combined

Look, I’m the first one to admit that I gladly follow a long-list of A-list, B-list and even C-list celebs and genuinely get lost in their profiles. I had posters of singers taped up on the walls of my childhood bedroom and I spent actual money to see them. I get the appeal, celebrities are fun, they offer fantasy, a small glimpse into what life could actually be if you woke up with enough talent to get you noticed or knew someone at the top. 

                                                     @Kofromatatf (Twitter)

   Going on Instagram these days seems like an instant invitation to over 20+ celeb lives. 

I get it, okay? I’m not “anti-celeb” for the most part. But, when it comes to something that impacts everyone, gets in the way of our and their daily lives, I wonder just how talented they are at empathy. 

If it’s not Ellen DeGeneres coming at us live from one of her larger-than-life rooms telling us to keep the faith, it’s Kylie Jenner posting about how this is driving her crazy and she misses simpler times when she could go on a $3 million vacation with her sisters. 

With over 17 million Americans filing for unemployment over the past four weeks, I’m not sure if stars are facing similar challenges. Their roles on the big screen will be there when this is over. For us, the future of our jobs in places like retail, the food industry and more remain up in the air. 

Famous people have failed to learn how to read the room. The first time we really saw someone openly ignoring the plight this pandemic brings on so many was the infamous yacht photo. That’s right, someone actually wished everyone well from their $5 million yacht, where they were quarantined. 

               Billionaire David Geffen sent the world good wishes off his yacht early in the COVID-19 chaos. 

Jennifer Lopez really took the time to show us how her family is coping and yes, it did include one of her sons on a hoverboard, in her expansive backyard. Jeremy Renner, best known for his role of Hawk-Eye in The Avengers, really thought now was the best time to kick-start his music career with a single titled “Medecine.” YEP, he really had people telling him that that was a good idea, he really got the go-ahead. 

I’m sorry but I  know I’m not alone in the frustration right now. As much as I love seeing people like Chrissy Teigen on my timeline, I don’t necessarily know if we’re on an even playing field. 

So, I guess that leaves us with nothing else to do but teach. I’ve compiled a list of  the five biggest to-dos for celebrities that missed the ball on understanding the difference between us and them. 

  1. Don’t EQUATE: There’s no hiding that we lead different lives, that your backyard could easily be the size of my house. Instead of trying to be one of us, acknowledge that you aren’t and recognize your privilege. Madonna called the virus the “great equalizer” from a bathtub of rose petals while I’m trying to schedule my showers with my family so we can all use some hot water. 
  2. Go easy on the Lives: Look, I see the appeal of musicians streaming shows and honestly think that’s a great way to keep people engaged. However, if your live is just you and another celebrity talking back and forth about how you’re coping, or just yourself documenting daily life, maybe recognize they’re a bit overdone and if you need someone to talk to, call your friends like the rest of us. 
  3. Pleas for Money: Look, charity is great and it does a lot of good things for those that need it. However, when I see celebs post links to places we should donate, my gut instinct is to say: Well, have you? Not that it’s my business and it’s likely they have, but just forcing charity’s down the links of your followers can be a bit much. 
  4. You’re not a Scientist: Look, we’re all on the same boat here when it comes to how much we know. Leave the science part to scientists. Stop offering your suggestions on when this could be over. And for the love of God, please avoid doing anything close to what Vanessa Hudgens did a few weeks ago and go on some sort of rant about the ridiculousness of serious measures. 
  5. READ THE ROOM: Last and most importantly, please read the room. I know social media might be a way to cope, or your means of maintaining a following both on and off the screen. But, recognize that people’s timelines are overflowing with bad news. Trying to add to that with a complaint about how your significant other is starting to drive you crazy or how you don’t know what day it is and your losing mind can often reek of a lack of empathy. Now might not be the best time to launch a new press campaign, just a thought. 

Not to say this applies to all famous people. I’ve seen some good things come out of this. Like John Krasinski’s Good News weekly show that brings people together and steers away from the general narrative. Artists that have gone forward with their album releases also provide solace for me. New music is fun and if you’re able to share it without trying to evoke copious amounts of sympathy, gold star. 

I think there’s a time and a place for everything. Obviously, celebrities are deeply ingrained into our culture. And honestly, it’s such an ambiguous term that it no longer applies to just movie stars and singers. They’re people, too. I think this virus can definitely impact them, whether it’s consequence can be as serious as it is for us common folk, which I think is what puts them at fault. When they start to act as if the implications are the same is where I begin to feel frustrated. 

But, feelings are feelings and as people, we try to validate them, even when they belong to  people who have salaries with a numbers of digits I will never see in my life. So, at the end of the day, all we can ask of our highest-profile friends is to just please, read the room.

Bridging the Gap

6 Ways Telehealth Has Been Bridging the Gap Between UW-Madison Students and UHS

By Jennifer Hwang

1. UHS has been providing telehealth services since March 16.

According to Interim Director of Mental Health Services at UHS, Andrea Lawson, the school clinic reached out to every student who had an in-person appointment scheduled to better understand what their current needs were in the context of COVID-19. “For some students, their need for support was less, and for others it was more or at least different,” Lawson said. “We are offering continuity of care to all students already connected to us, regardless of their location.” UHS has been able to serve students with phone or video-based services, with state licensing laws for mental health services in mind. When UHS cannot be the one to help students due to the law, they can connect students to local resources.

2. 70-80% of students are using telehealth services, with a significant uptick in students utilizing SilverCloud.

UHS has been at its typical capacity for counseling, although they are seeing a large increase in the number of students who are signing up for and actively using SilverCloud, Lawson said. The platform is an online cognitive behavior-based self-help tool that students and faculty can use. “Since March 16, 332 new students have started using the platform, in comparison to 125 students who used SilverCloud during the same time period last year,” Lawson said.

3. Students struggling with serious medical and mental health issues are getting access to medication in the midst of the pandemic.

Based on symptoms, UHS providers can diagnose and treat severe medical concerns by sending prescriptions electronically to a student’s local pharmacy.

4. UHS providers have been conducting telehealth sessions from home. 

“To limit their need to travel and interact with others in accordance with the ‘Safer at Home’ order, almost all UHS staff are providing services from their homes,” Lawson said. “Each provider went through training to be able to understand the technology [they] are using, along with best practices for providing teletherapy.” At their homes, UHS providers have been virtually seeing students in confidential, private spaces.

5. UHS appreciates any feedback from students who have been using telehealth to improve their services.

The school clinic has been working on launching student satisfaction surveys. Currently, students can provide feedback through the ‘Tell Us How We’re Doing’ form online. Also, UHS has come up with some new online resources to help students, found here.

6. Students experiencing mental health emergencies can rely on UHS.

“We’ve developed protocols particularly for this time, including confirming the location of the student at the time of the appointment, developing an emergency support plan, and identifying local crisis resources for students to reach out to if needed,” Lawson said. The UHS crisis line is available 24/7 at 608-265-5600 Option 9, and on call services can be reached at 608-265-5600 Option 2.

Local Character Halted

Part of Madison’s character halted by COVID-19 pandemic

By Hunter Carroll

Every week from Tuesday-Sunday, the Kollege Klub is packed with students looking to have a good time with their friends. Unfortunately, the bar is now empty for the foreseeable future due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As COVID-19, a strain of the Coronavirus, continues to spread around the world, many people whose jobs are considered “nonessential” are left out of work. Bars fall under the category of nonessential, forcing their employees to close shop until the government deems it safe for them to reopen.

Bars are not only a major part of the culture of Wisconsin, but they are also essential to Madison’s character. People in Madison love the bar culture. Whether it be to watch the Badgers, Packers or just a night out for a good time with friends, Madison’s bars are always packed, especially the Kollege Klub.

‘The KK’ is considered by many to be one of the best bars in Madison, especially for events like Friday After Class, parents weekend and of course, game days in the fall. 

Because of what seem like endless crowds that come into the KK, it is also one of the most popular bars in Madison to work at.

I spoke with Jordan Meier, owner of the KK, about the closure of his bar. Meier has been working full time at the KK since 2006. This is the first time the KK has been forced to close since he has been there.

Meier said, “The KK was last forced closed when the city suspended our liquor license for 30 days back in the early 2000s. That was before my time but from what I can remember the managers weren’t doing a very good job of enforcing the rules. A lot has changed since back then.”

This closure has left all employees of the bar out of work, from bartenders, to bouncers, even the D.J.’s at the bar.

I, along with Mike Reuhl, work as a D.J. at the KK multiple nights throughout the week playing music for customers. While I have only had the position for a little over a year, Mike has been working at the KK off and on since 2008. I talked to Mike about his time at the KK and about the recent closure.

“I knew back in January that it was going to probably affect us because we weren’t really doing anything about it at that point. It was happening in China at that time and you could see that the spread was massive. Then the CDC came out towards the end of February and said people should buy two weeks of food and supplies and that’s when I knew it was happening,” Reuhl said.

Mike knew that his time as a D.J. was going to be cut short for the school year, but he did not know when.

“The week before spring break I said to myself that this is probably the last time I’m going to be seeing a lot of the seniors. Even if people are staying in Madison, we are going to be closed,” Reuhl said.

While Reuhl is upset about the closure, there are many memories that he can look back on at the KK, like their recent event hosted by Friday Beers where the entire bar got free beer all afternoon. He said he had never seen the KK like that before.

While it can be fun to look back on the good times, not knowing when businesses will be able to open again and employees will be able to return to work is something that Reuhl is skeptical about. 

“I think that bars and restaurants will be closed for a while. I think it will last way through summer and even into next year. I’m surprised that the government didn’t make even more restrictions. I thought there were going to be restrictions about going in and out of cities, all the way to martial law,” Reuhl said. 

Like many people, Reuhl has found other activities to stay busy during this time at home, like shooting rifles for sport and walking to stay active. He also has been cooking a lot with his girlfriend. 

While these are all fun things to do, Reuhl, along with many others across the country, still worry about not having a job and not having a source of income.

“I applied for the CARES Act because I was a full time D.J. so I qualified for support and got a decent chunk of change from that.”

The CARES Act is a Federal Stimulus Bill that was passed by Congress on March 27, 2020. The Department of Workforce Development website says that “within the CARES Act are three benefits, like $600 a week in unemployment benefits, that unemployed individuals may be eligible to receive if they are not eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits.” 

For now, those that are unemployed can benefit from this stimulus bill, but everyone hopes to get back to normal sooner than later.

ROTC Training

“And the Army Goes Rolling Along”: ROTC and COVID-19

By Reagan Zimmerman

UW Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Cadets have had to adapt to a new form of training after COVID-19 caused the university to suspend all in-person classes on March 11. A normal day for the Cadets would involve crawling through the woods on campus and conducting Physical Training (PT) together, but now they must rely on communicating everything through a computer screen.

Study Abroad

“It straight-up sucked”: students reflect on COVID-19 ending the study abroad program

By Joe States

Alice McLoughlin in front of the Trevi Fountain, Rome

When Alice McLoughlin woke up on the morning of Feb. 29, she checked her phone to see she had received an email from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s study abroad program.

The Italy study abroad program had been canceled, and students were to return to the U.S. as soon as possible.

“It straight-up sucked,” laughed Alice in our interview. “[Study abroad] was the one thing that I really, really wanted to do in college. I’d been looking forward to study abroad for like ten years and that was kinda my only chance.”

UW-Madison’s International Academic Program has over 200 programs in 68 countries, with approximately 1,200 students enrolled in the spring semester according to John Lucas, UW-Madison’s Assistant Vice Chancellor of University Communications.

 When the programs were canceled in response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of stories like Alice’s played out through late February and early March across the world.

Alice, a sophomore at UW-Madison majoring in political science and psychology, was studying in Rome for the spring semester. Though she’d heard about the spread of COVID-19 back in early February, Alice said she had been told that she wouldn’t have to return to the U.S.

“There was like a whole week where my program, CIEE, they were like, ‘you can stay, we’re not going to cancel,’” Alice recalled.

But the situation quickly changed.

“One day, there was no cases in Italy, and then it was like there was a thousand, and then it kept doubling overnight,” Alice said. “I really didn’t think it was going to affect my life that much until all of a sudden I woke up and I had to go home.”

The Monday after receiving the email, Alice was on a plane back to the US.

“It was kinda just really sad because it was this big life dream of mine,” Alice said. “I understand why it got canceled, it kinda had to be done because it was starting to turn into a dangerous situation, but it was really disappointing.”

Karissa Niederkorn, a fellow UW-Madison sophomore majoring in community non-profit leadership, was studying in Ireland when President Trump announced the European travel ban on March 11. Echoing Alice’s experiences less than two weeks prior, Karissa said the situation changed suddenly.

“It all happened so fast. It went from not a problem at all … to book a flight home as soon as possible,” Karissa said. 

She’d been planning a trip to Belgium that week, and was actually headed to the airport when she got the news.

“Instead, I booked my flight home and started packing, and I was home two days later. It was kinda hectic,” Karissa said. 

Karissa Niederkorn visiting the Kylemore Abbey, Ireland

But other students weren’t quite so lucky.

“A few of my roommates went to London a few hours before the travel ban was announced, so they had to stay there for a few days,” Karissa said. “The airports got really crazy, so people were waiting like six hours to get through customs.”

Karissa’s reflection on the situation matched Alice’s closely.

“It kinda sucks, just cause you plan out study abroad, and it’s kinda like your one chance to go around Europe,” Karissa said. “And so then to have a 48-hour notice and be on a plane back home kinda sucks.”

Now, both are back in the U.S., under quarantine and coping with all the difficulties that come with it. Alice is in New York, and although she isn’t in a virus hotspot, she’s been stuck indoors for most of the last few months.

“My mom’s a nurse, so she works at a hospital, so she sees Coronavirus patients everyday, so I can’t leave the house,” Alice said. “I haven’t seen anybody except my parents in six weeks.”

She said she’s been doing paint-by-numbers to fill the time.

“I’m going insane,” she joked.

Karissa has also been stuck indoors with her family, but isn’t home quite yet.

“My mom has breast cancer, so she’s going through radiation treatment, so I’m staying at my grandparent’s for a while, just until she’s completely safe,” Karissa said.

Karissa is looking forward to when quarantine ends and she can finally see her friends and go outside again.

“My friends and I are all going to hang out, and we were thinking of going camping,” she said.

Alice, after spending so much time with her family in New York, said she would like to “see someone besides my parents or get a burrito from Chipotle. Or visit Wisconsin.”

With the Covid-19 pandemic constantly changing, the future of the study abroad program remains in the air. Although all summer programs have been canceled, UW Study Abroad has held off a decision for the 2020 fall semester.

“Due to the dynamic and varied circumstances with COVID-19, we will continue to review each individual location in assessing risks,” UW Study Abroad said in a statement to students.

Despite how the program was cut short, Karissa talked fondly about one especially fun day back in Ireland.

“It was raining a lot every day. So there was one day where it was really nice outside, and we just went and sat outside at the water and just hung out,” Karissa recalled. “And everyone from the university was there. No one went to class that day cause it was so nice. 

After thinking for a moment, Karissa continued.

“And that was the same week that I flew home,” she said. “Which is crazy to think about, because it seemed like such a normal day.”

Pets in Quarantine

Pets take home the win with stay-at-home orders across the nation

By Reagan Zimmerman

With families stuck at home together, pets are getting more attention, cuddles and photo shoots during the COVID-19 health crisis. Animals are the true winners of quarantine.

Willow has enjoyed endless snuggles with her family since the beginning of the quarantine. | Photo by Reagan Zimmerman
Lucky has decided to cuddle in his mom’s arms whenever she has to get anything done. | Photo by Reagan Zimmerman
Hugo spends all day napping while his family works. | Photo by Reagan Zimmerman
Gastby likes to spend his nights outside on the quiet town and his days inside snoozing while his family works from home. | Photo by Reagan Zimmerman
Maru (left) and Zaku (right) follow their parents everywhere in the house during quarantine. | Photo by August Schultz
“Smile Sandy!” This cute golden has been smiling ever since her family has been stuck at home. | Photo by Aaron Patterson
Boston (left) and his sister Sandy (right) like to spend days lounging with their family while they work from home. | Photo by Aaron Patterson
Dakota and Dawson get some sunny snuggles in. | Photo by Maddy Primeau
Luna refuses to leave her owners arms while they spend some genuine time together during quarantine. | Photo by Piper James
Tia enjoys a sunny nap while her family works from home. | Photo by Hunter Carroll
Coco poses for the camera while she lounges during the day. | Photo by Hunter Carroll
Chester enjoys a walk and some playtime during a snowstorm on Easter. | Photo by Shelby Evans
Emily Higgins is really enjoying having a snuggle buddy all day, every day now that her family is home. | Photo by Michael Maddox
Rugger has taken on the role of babysitter for his little sister, Emma, while their parents work from home. | Photo by Katie Splittgaber
Ziva is such a good sport by smiling for the camera now that her family is home to constantly take photos of her. | Photo by Marissa Davis
Video games have become Banksy’s new hobby so he can spend time with his dad. | Photo by Jodi Moffett
Molly and Bailey practice social distancing by hunting squirrels from the windows. | Photo by Alex Will
Dexter loves giving his mom puppy eyes while she is working so she stops what she is doing and takes him for a walk. | Photo by Shaunda Jennings
Coco the pug found a new hobby with her mom — playing dress up! | Photo by Jackie Nelson
Isabella has decided to turn away from the TV and not listen to the news anymore. | Photo by Jackie Nelson
Yogi has been enjoying porch hangouts with his mom and dad during quarantine. | Photo by Brianna Davis
Rex has been enjoying movie nights with his family while they have been home. | Photo by Jen Wagner
Wayne has found a new enemy during quarantine — the leaf blower. | Photo by Courtney Disterhaft
Gus enjoys spending time with his family and napping with his legs straight out. | Photo by Haley Westerfield
Ginny likes to entertain her family with her favorite toy, her pheasant. | Photo by Kate Lawless
Gunnar Joe snuggles up with his owner while she is home from college. | Photo by Shelby Williams
Buddy (front) and Winston (back) are happy to be chilling lakeside with their family. | Photo by Lori Csaszar
Lilly’s family are teaching her a new skill during quarantine — how to balance a toy on her head and focus for a treat. | Photo by Andrew Gibson
Jake is using quarantine to catch up on sleep with his pal and his family. | Photo by Krista Olson
Dixie is wondering why her dad won’t let her play ball in the house all the time now that he is home. | Photo by Cale Belau
Maggie enjoys spending time with her family on the deck after a rainstorm. | Photo by Heidi Buchholtz Pavlu
Lola is enjoying having her roommates home all the time to play tug of war and take cute pictures of her.
Lola (left) and Harper (right) have discovered that running through mud and tracking it inside for their family to clean up is their new favorite pass time. They also never forget to pose for cute muddy photos every time they do it!