Plastic flamingos invade UW Madison campus for tenth ‘Fill the Hill’

Updated: Oct. 21, 2022 at 4:00 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - What started as an epic prank is now a tradition unlike any other on the UW Madison campus. Plastic flamingos are invading Bascom Hill once again on Friday.

It’s the 10th year the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association is hosting the “Fill the Hill” event. Each lawn flamingo added to the flock will represent a financial donation made to UW Madison that day.

Over the last decade, the event has raised more than $2 million dollars to support UW Madison’s “excellence in education” and to “answer the university’s most immediate needs”, according to a release from the Alumni Association.

Wisconsin Alumni Assoc. Executive Director Sarah Schutt discusses how it all began.

The call for donations began Thursday night and will end at 5 p.m. on Friday, for a full 24-hours of giving. Those who donate $250 or more will get their own plastic lawn flamingo to keep.

The day of giving pays homage to a 1979 prank where students from the Pail and Shovel political organization placed more than 1,000 plastic flamingos on Bascom’s lawn.

A new addition to the event this year is “flamingoing” on social media. Alumni association officials are encouraging people to pose like a flamingo, snap a photograph, and post it to social media with the hashtag #uwflamingos.

There will also be a special student celebration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., where students can participate in fun activities and snag some giveaways.

Market Manager Kristen Olson tells what goes into the tradition

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