A regularly scheduled, statewide tornado drill went off in Madison at 1:45 p.m. on April 20th. According to WKOW Chief Meteorologist, Bob Lindmeier, tornado drills are one of the best ways to prepare for potential disaster. “It’s important to have a plan for the worst-case scenario,” Lindmeier said. “Regularly practicing tornado drills and knowing what to do in the event of an emergency is half the battle.”
However, there were a few places on campus that did not participate in the statewide tornado drill, including both Memorial Union and Union South.
“Tornado drill, shmornado drill, am I right? Wake me up when there’s a real one,” said Wisconsin Union Director Michael Smithers. Smithers was part of the Union committee that decided not to participate in the drill. “I get that we need to practice weather safety, but there’s people trying to run businesses here in the Unions. I can’t have a bunch of drunk college kids running out of the Sett because they think there’s an air raid going on. It’s bad for business.”
While potentially unsafe in the long run, the decision to not participate in the statewide tornado drill was well-received by bar patrons in both Unions. “I’m glad that the Union is keeping the best interests of the customers in mind,” said UW senior, and Sett regular, Jake Francis. “Here at UW, day drinking isn’t just a hobby, it’s an art form. A tornado drill would totally kill the vibe. How are you supposed to enjoy a pitcher of beer at one in the afternoon if you’re huddled in a corner with your arms over your head?”
Other students questioned the purpose of tornado drills altogether. “What’s the point of a tornado drill, anyways?” asked Mary Wilhelm, UW junior and frequenter of Der Rathskeller in Memorial Union. “If there was a real tornado I’d totally put my drink aside and go hide in the bathroom or do whatever it is you’re supposed to do. Real tornadoes kill people. The only thing a tornado drill ever killed was my buzz.”
“To be honest, regular tornado drills are kind of boring,” spoke UW sophomore, Stephanie Harding. “I’m more concerned about really dangerous disasters, like sharknadoes! I saw a documentary about them on TV. When are we going to have a sharknado drill?”
Union Director Michael Smithers says that he stands by his decision to not participate in the tornado drill. “Sure, the weather can be dangerous and unpredictable,” Smithers said. “But do you know what’s more dangerous and unpredictable? The economy. We can’t be wasting business hours running around and worrying if the sky is falling. Trust me, I’d rather face a swirling death vortex than potential unemployment any day.”
Like booze before noon? So do these guys…