Episode 54: Keep On Truckin’

This week, we learn about a student’s innovative approach to promoting composting at UConn; we get a glimpse inside an exhibit devoted to the work of underground comics legend R. Crumb; and we quiz each other about UConn urban legends.



Tom Breen: [00:00:00] Hi everybody welcome to episode 54 of UConn 360. That’s the only podcast in the world that covers the university of Connecticut from every conceivable angle. We have a humdinger of a show for you this week. Uh, I think, I don’t actually know. Uh, I just got back from vacation. I have no idea what’s going on, but my name’s Tom Breen.

Joining me as always are my colleagues. Maxine Philavong,

Maxine Philavong: [00:00:31] Hello!

Tom Breen: [00:00:32] Julie Bartucca,

Julie Bartucca: [00:00:32] Hey.

Tom Breen: [00:00:33] Ken Best.

Ken Best: [00:00:33] Behind the board.

Tom Breen: [00:00:34] Yes. And as always, I’m sure there’s some spectacular stuff heading your way. Like, I dunno news. We have some news, right?

Julie Bartucca: [00:00:42] Yeah,

Ken Best: [00:00:42] Of course we have news. We’re news people!

Tom Breen: [00:00:44] What’s going in the news world, Ken?

Ken Best: [00:00:46] Well, you may recall we’ve had Ryan Watson of our Human Development Family Sciences department here at UConn in talking and reporting on some of the national information he’s developed on LGBTQ teenagers. And the latest report from that study is out, and it’s shows that a supportive community.

Reduces the possibility of substance abuse by sexual minority youth. And that’s important because there are a lot of programs in communities around the country and on campuses around the country. And that helps a great deal in the physical and social activities that cause some of the problems that lead to substance abuse.

He says this study extends the current body of knowledge that examines and explains differences in substance use behaviors among sexual minority adolescents to include environmental factors such as school and community climate. Essentially a variety of community LGBTQ events such as pride, may create a climate of greater acceptance and supportiveness that is associated with lower odds of substance abuse.

Tom Breen: [00:01:51] Important stuff. Julie, what’s going on?

Julie Bartucca: [00:01:53] Huskython happened a couple of weeks back now and raised a record. $1,520,234 and 98 cents to benefit Connecticut children’s medical center. The annual 18 hour dance marathon top to the previous record of more than 1.3 million, which was from last year, more than 3,300 students on over 100 teams were part of the event, which was held in Hugh S. Greer Fieldhouse. And Huskython has actually multiplied its fundraising 100 times over since its first event back in the year 2000.

Tom Breen: [00:02:23] Very nice everyone. I understand the President Katsouleas was there. Cutting a rug as I think the young people say. Tripping the light fantastic. Is that what the young people say, Maxine?

Julie Bartucca: [00:02:32] Oh my god.

Maxine Philavong: [00:02:32] Yes.

Tom Breen: [00:02:32] That is what they say. Good. Glad we got that.

Julie Bartucca: [00:02:35] Awesome.

Tom Breen: [00:02:36] Well congratulations everyone. That’s a great cause and a, yeah, Husky sounds very cool thing that happens here. So this will be new for me too, cause I have no idea what’s, what’s going to be on show this week.

Julie Bartucca: [00:02:45] So no great segues.

Tom Breen: [00:02:46] No great segues. Unless it’s about cluelessness. Julie, is your story about cluelessness?

Julie Bartucca: [00:02:51] No, it’s not. It’s actually about having a clue about what’s going on with the environment.

Tom Breen: [00:02:55] Wow, alright.

Julie Bartucca: [00:02:56] Yes, it’s about compost, but it’s really about a lot more than that. We hear a lot here at UConn, especially in this marketing and communications office about how UConn undergraduates are able to get funding to do their own research and community projects.

And sometimes that might sound like it’s kind of a really big intimidating thing, but a lot of the time, these types of projects and you know, all projects that change the world in some way come from something that people see in their lives that they just want to fix. They see a simple way it can be done, they need some resources. So I talked to Becky Feldman, who is a junior civil engineering major who grew up composting food waste. And once she started living in an on-campus apartment at UConn, she realized that there was no way for students here to do that. Dining services has composting, but students couldn’t do their own.

So Feldman was awarded a UConn co-op legacy fellowship change grant, which provides undergrads up to $2,000 for their student led social change projects. And she launched a pilot composting program called food to fuel for students living in Hilltop apartments. We talked about the actual process of getting the grant, setting up the project, how it works, why it’s important, and what she hopes happens with it in the future.

Becky Feldman: [00:04:04] I moved in to Hilltop apartments last fall. It’s my first year in apartment housing. I used to live in NextGen and pretty much the first thing I noticed, I’m like, where’s my compost bin? Like I grew up, you know, I was privileged. I was on 12 acres of land and we always composte for our chickens and for our gardens.

And, at the university. We’re all living in apartments. We’re learning these like lifestyle habits that we’re going to continue on into the rest of our lives. And I know when I always wanted to continue on was personally composting, so I didn’t see it. So I’m like, okay, how can I get this here. Now it’s actually Wawa.

Wawa recommended it to me and I reached out to Melissa Berkey, who’s up in the office of undergraduate research and I had to find a mentor that, that was tough. Cause I it’s not exactly civil engineering related, but Julia, the farm manager, I got in touch with her outside of one of the pop up farmer’s markets outside of the library last fall and we hit it off.

We got to talking and she was happy to take me on and be my mentor for the grant. So the grant application was due, I think the end of September. So that was just some writeups of, you know, the budget and whatnot. It’s up to $2,000 and a lot of talking about logistics, how is it going to work? How can we make this the most convenient it possibly can be?

So students use it. It’s, that was the big thing. You know, if, if they have to track their compost bin across campus, like they’re not going to do it. I was actually right about to take one of my exams and I saw that I got the grant in like mid October right around my birthday. So that was a great birthday present.

And then from there is a lot of logistics talks. I sat down in the ResLife in dining services who are super helpful and onboard from the start. Some facilities conversations, some coordination with WilliWaste, and then a lot of just, okay, what bins am I going to use. So they have to be dishwasher safe for students and pretty much how is the compost, how’s the food waste going to get from Hilltop apartments to its end goal, which ideally would be someplace on campus, but I’m kind of piggybacking off of the dining services route. They take their food waste on a quantum biopower. And it goes into this anaerobic digester and creates methane, which powers local communities in compost soil and fertilizer as well.

So it’s a more sustainable than right now. It would be going in the incinerator. We were able to get a food waste bin in, in just one so far, a good star in the center of Hilltop apartments outside of Barrett and WilliWaste about these new trucks. I say that they bought it for me, but really like they bought it for, for the program, for everyone.

So all of the dining halls now have smaller. We call them like kind of like curbside pickup, like a normal trash ban. So that makes it more feasible for one day for this to be everywhere cause they have the truck to pick those up.

Julie Bartucca: [00:06:45] So right now there’s only one in the middle of Hilltop apartments and everyone can bring, they have small bins that you’ve provide?

Becky Feldman: [00:06:51] Yes.

Julie Bartucca: [00:06:52] So can everyone have those for their apartment? How does that work?

Becky Feldman: [00:06:54] So it’s one bin per apartment. And the bin is a one gallon little blue you line man. It’s just a plastic pails. Nothing really special. We had looked into the carbon filters and all that, but then you have to upkeep them and change them.

So our little band has a sticker on the front that says yes and no. Like what goes in, what doesn’t? Cause I understand that everybody grew up like I did and not everyone knows how to compost. From there, I had a kick off event, I have some pickup times and dates and then. Personally, people reach out to me like, Oh, I couldn’t make it. Can I come grab a band? I’m like, sure. I got them in my car. So people just pick them up when they can. One per apartment. I have them sign up. Um, there’s a Google form and then also pretty easy been care agreement, just saying like, Oh, I’ll take care of this and due diligence, you know. If my roommates are into it, I’ll be respectful and return it as is.

I, I have more to give out. Not all apartments are signed up. I do have about 60 participating. But the bin is about little more than half full every week before it’s picked up.

Julie Bartucca: [00:07:55] Other than growing up doing this and just knowing this was something you wanted to do, why is this such an important issue to you?

Becky Feldman: [00:08:03] Food waste is more than just like a banana going bad on the counter, you’re wasting money. When you’re buying all this food and just not be eaten, and that’s lost nutrition or food insecurity. As we’ve been discussing this huge on-campus and in the world, there’s all these really gross statistics of like all the food that we waste could feed like the whole world twice over and end hunger.

The emissions that food is associated with is about 10% of all greenhouse gases. So that’s like transportation to and from the grocery store. You know, I buy raspberries, they are my favorite food. I find them during the winter. I have no idea where they’re coming from, how far away they’ve come, how much nutrition was lost on the way so many greenhouse gases are being put into just getting them to me.

Then I try to appreciate them as much as I can. So it’s more than just. Going to the incinerator. There’s a lot more to it, and I’ve always been really passionate about the environment. When I was younger, I would always say, Oh, I want to save the world. I want to see the world. And I still like no one really knows how.

I think that in civil engineering, like through land development, sustainable land development, and urban development, that’s kind of how I found my path.

Julie Bartucca: [00:09:18] What are your hopes for this project after this first semester?

Becky Feldman: [00:09:23] I would like ideally as many people that want to sign up to sign up. That’s why it’s voluntary cause you want people to want to do it.

And the signing of you know, entails a free band. And also we have this cute little rewards program. So if you send me a picture of you dumbing out the bin, then you get entered every week into a raffle to win a gift card to Dunkin for you or your roommates that depending on, you know, who does the, the food waste.

I, I’ve often heard the statistic that people feel in the most impactful on the climate crisis when they recycle. You know, just like physically throwing a water ball in the recycling bin, but there’s so many more, like a little things, little changes we can make that I think are much more impactful. And I think this is one of them.

I just want this to be successful and get students talking around campus about food waste, which we have been like. Dining services brings it up. The environmental conversation has been going for a while, which is really great. In terms of this specifically. To prove to, I don’t know who it will be, dining services or ResLife.

I need to prove to someone that this is a successful project that students want and need, and then from there it’ll have to be taken on by someone. I want this to be everywhere in all the on campus apartments. I think that every office should have three bins: compost, recycling, and trash. I don’t see why not. To me, that’s simple. Really.

Tom Breen: [00:10:44] That’s really interesting stuff.

Julie Bartucca: [00:10:51] Cause you heard it right here in the studio.

Tom Breen: [00:10:53] Yeah, it’s all new to me.

Julie Bartucca: [00:10:55] It is. Becky’s story is a great example also of how students can use the connections they have and make other connections on campus to make change happen. She talked about how she connected with spring Valley student farm manager, Julie Cardbibiano at the popup farmer’s market on Fairfield way.

And she also mentioned Wawa as the person who connected her with the grant program. And that’s Wawa Gatheru, UConn’s first Rhodes scholar, Truman scholar, Udall scholar, who we know is very involved in social change projects on campus, who she went to high school with. Students who are interested in getting a compost bin for their apartment can email Rebecca dot. Feldman F E L D M A N @uconn.edu.

Tom Breen: [00:11:31] Very nice. Ken?

Ken Best: [00:11:32] Would you think that a construction project on campus would lead to an art exhibit?

Julie Bartucca: [00:11:37] I wouldn’t, but maybe it did.

Ken Best: [00:11:39] It did. People on South campus may have noticed the new building that’s almost, it’s finished. Except for moving in and touching up the new fine arts production center where our set design and technology for the Connecticut Repertory Theatereand Jorgensen Center will be taking place. Much long needed facility. When that was being built, they needed to change the parking cause that was on a former parking lot. And so as a result, faculty in music and theater had to walk through the art building in order to get to their building. Performance and acting emeritas Professor Dale AJ Rose was walking by the Contemporary Art Galleries and ran into his old friend, Barry Rosenberg, who was the director of the galleries.

And they hadn’t seen each other for a while because they were doing their own thing. And that happens. So they got to talking. And Professor Rose mentioned that he was a fan of Robert Crumb, who was, of course, among the most prolific of the underground comic artists of the 1960s and seventies. Turns out he had a collection of Crumb’s work. And so professor Rosenberg said, it’s a matter of fact, there’s an exhibit of his work in New York City. And so of course professor Rose went down and checked it out. So he came back and said, I think I have a lot of good stuff like that myself. So they talked about it, he went and saw it, and our Crumb drawings, prints, and books became the exhibit for the contemporary art galleries.

And it’s been getting a lot of attention. Now the exhibit is still on despite until March sixth, so you have to get there very soon. You can see Fritz the cat, Mr. Natural, the keep on trucking guys and most importantly big brother and the hunting companies Cheap Thrills album cover.

What drew you to Robert Crumb’s work initially because you’ve collected a fair amount of material, but at some point you had to be sparked with interest in his work.

Dale AJ Rose: [00:13:36] I saw some of his stuff when I was visiting some friends out in Berkeley in 67. So a piece in, in the underground, uh, paper, uh, the Berkeley press that, uh, had a slight interview with him about.

Giving up his job as a writer for American greeting cards and came out to California to express himself for little or no money. And I kind of laughed that off when I went back to New York, very, there was in the East Village other and I went, Oh, this stuff, it’s early Fritz the Cat, this is interesting.

And then sauced up in Chicago at the Chicago Seed, another underground paper. And then when I came back to New York, I just was like, wow, this stuff is everywhere. Well, who is this person? What does he do? And, and, and I liked the philosophy. I like the kind of stuff that was social, political, and an interested me in a way that I was so interested by Dylan. I was interested growing up in Detroit, Marvin Gaye, the things that were being said through song, and then later in my life, the boss, because his lyrics just seem to be on a parallel track with my life. And I found that Crumb was on that parallel track. Uh, so I started collecting the comics and then Fantagraphics in Seattle started producing a few.

Prints are limited edition prints. And I went, wow, this is, I want this. And so I started collecting a few pieces that interested me. And in 1999, um, I have to say that, uh, my graduate class at university of Missouri, Kansas City bought me the art of art crumb, which was a big coffee table book. Cause they said, we know you’re interested in this and we want you to stay interested in it.

And I did start collecting pieces. One of the first pieces that just really reached me was the, the piece called the adventures of R. Crumb himself. It just excited me because it was warm and funny, and then I knew the comic in which in fact he goes outside and all sorts of disasters happened to him.

You know, and he throws, uh, ends up throwing a Molotov cocktail at some, some kind of church. So, and then he says, I should stay home. I should stay.

Ken Best: [00:16:01] Well, what you described to me is Crumb as a social commentator through his artwork, which was not uncommon during that time that he was doing most of that work in the 1960s and early 1970s given what was going on in the United States and in society in general. We had the Vietnam war going on the civil rights movement, just the entire atmosphere in the country, not unlike today, which is divided in many ways, and he was one of the prominent social critics as a cartoonist in the underground press, which it came and went in that 10-15 year period.

Dale AJ Rose: [00:16:42] Right. Which also is interesting that of the so many comics that were came out at that time, and none of them made any money except zap.

Zap is the only one that actually made money of the 16 issues that they did.

Ken Best: [00:16:55] Well, was it partly because of the fact that Crumb was working prominently in those journals, but more importantly, he connected with the music of the time illustrating the cover of Big Brother and the Holding Company, uh, which of course was where Janis Joplin originated.

And then. Uh, the coupon truck and poster was immediately connected with the Grateful Dead. The cult of the jam band really began with them and they just performed endlessly.

Dale AJ Rose: [00:17:29] Uh, I did have the album cover and then I loved the idea of what was the original artwork for the cover that he did of Janis Joplin, just to close up with music flying out of her face and everything.

She loathed it and said, you have overnight. To do another cover. I go somewhere else. But he was absolutely broke. He stayed up all night and created that iconic cover for cheap thrills.

Ken Best: [00:17:53] He had a twisted sense of humor, uh, that he went into dark places. Uh, there was an element of pornography and some of the stuff that he did.

So he was really out there as an know, as a creative artist. But he’s still thrive no matter what. He did talk a little bit about how he managed to survive through all of that, because many artists come from a dark place and they express themselves through their art.

Dale AJ Rose: [00:18:19] One of the things that that helped him, uh, thrive or survive is he kept growing.

So he didn’t just stay as a comic illustrator or creator there. He started to broaden, um, his, uh, palette of, of doing, uh, works of, uh, (Charles) Bukowski. He would illustrate his works, his poems, et cetera, et cetera. And was becoming known as a serious illustrator. By the late eighties, his flame had sort of flickered out and people were not interested because of things like keep on trucking.

And, and he, he became in known as, so it was all so commercial stuff, cards um, uh, this is stickers and everything. Uh, which he to this day loaves. In saying that if he wishes that he hadn’t become so famous. At such a young age. I mean, when he did the album cover for Jen chaplain, he was like 24 years old.

Uh, and so, uh, it’s, uh, it was amazing. But then, uh, it was like nobody wanted R. Crumb until the documentary came out in ’91.

Ken Best: [00:19:36] Which I remember.

Dale AJ Rose: [00:19:37] And when that came out, suddenly people were, who is this person? And then he started a whole new world of work that had to do with more fine arts, illustrations, et cetera.

Ken Best: [00:19:49] And in fact, if you look at his style, which is a almost a classical draftsman kind of approach. In reality, yes, he can caricature and a with the best of them as a cartoonist satirist, but he’s a very fine artist. And his crosshatched technique hearkens back to the Renaissance days of pen and ink.

The Cara Schiro, the dark and the light shadows. But adding color instead of just doing black and white work is kind of draws you in because you look at it and say, Hmm, that’s, yeah, that’s, that’s, you can recognize who that is.

Dale AJ Rose: [00:20:30] He has said in various articles or interviews that, um, that style came about, uh, in the days when it was legal to take a LSD.

And after a couple of trips. His artistic style came to the forefront along with many of his iconic characters. What you’re saying about his style does have references back to some classical illustrations, and he built on it in a wonderful way that gave depth to the kind of illustrations he was doing.

Ken Best: [00:21:05] It’s always different when you see what you’ve had at your home. The way that you had it presented versus in a gallery. What, what, what? What are your thoughts having seen with Barry’s doing? Because Barry’s does a very interesting job with all of this work.

Dale AJ Rose: [00:21:22] Let’s put it this way. It’s the first I’ve seen everything on a wall, or at least the pieces that he has chosen on a wall because I can’t fit everything I have on my wall.

I’m home, so I have them stacked up. So it’s kind of joyous, kind of getting to see the pieces together like they’re a family.

Ken Best: [00:21:48] Folks have to get there because the exhibit closes on March 6th.

Julie Bartucca: [00:21:52] Very soon.

Ken Best: [00:21:52] Make a trip. In fact, I heard today someone came from Arizona to watch to see it.

Tom Breen: [00:21:58] Very nice. I don’t have a Tom’s history corner this week because I was, I was in a foreign country.

Julie Bartucca: [00:22:02] Learning about…

Tom Breen: [00:22:03] Until just now,

Julie Bartucca: [00:22:04] Far away history.

Tom Breen: [00:22:05] Until just now. I want to talk about UConn urban legends because when I was in the foreign country of Ireland, I was at Trinity college briefly not studying. I was just there on a tour and the tour guide talked about some things that are sort of urban legends about Trinity College that sounded a lot like UConn urban legends.

And I start to think that like probably. Colleges around the country and around the world, in fact, have very similar legends, like a statue or a bell or something that’s supposed to ring or make noise when a Virgin walks by and it never does. Ha ha ha. That’s not, that’s a thing. A trending. Also think at UNC, very common legend about libraries being built, but not the weight of the books being factored int.

Julie Bartucca: [00:22:41] That was a big one here. Still a big one, I think.

Tom Breen: [00:22:44] Yeah. That’s also what a lot of other universities too. That’s a pretty common trope in the world of urban legends. What are some urban legends about you? Kind of, what are some stories and folklore about UConn that you’ve heard? Maxine, let’s start with you.

Maxine Philavong: [00:22:55] The only thing you can think of off top I had is that you can’t walk in the seal.

Tom Breen: [00:22:58] Yes.

Maxine Philavong: [00:22:59] Or else you don’t graduate in four years.

Tom Breen: [00:23:01] Yes,

Maxine Philavong: [00:23:01] And I have walked  in this seal and I am not graduating in four years.

Tom Breen: [00:23:05] The legends are true.

Julie Bartucca: [00:23:05] Self fulfilling prophecy.

Tom Breen: [00:23:07] The legends are true. Yeah. That’s the seal and Fairfield way, which wasn’t there when I was an undergrad cause Fairfield way was like an actual road. Yeah. So that’s a newer one.

Julie Bartucca: [00:23:14] The only thing I can think of is the book thing. The library thing.

Tom Breen: [00:23:18] What about rubbing Johnathan’s nose for luck?

Julie Bartucca: [00:23:19] Oh yeah. Yeah. I didn’t think of that as an urban legend. More of a superstition.

Tom Breen: [00:23:23] Yup.

Julie Bartucca: [00:23:23] Yup.

Tom Breen: [00:23:24] We’ve got some hauntings. Some reputed hauntings.

Julie Bartucca: [00:23:26] Those I didn’t really know about until you told me though. So I don’t know if that’s a student thing.

Tom Breen: [00:23:30] There’s definitely one in, I think it’s alumni quadrangle. But like as a student thing, there’s one room and alumni. Like the Hartford Courant has done a story about it. Supposedly,

Julie Bartucca: [00:23:38] Haunted rooms,

Tom Breen: [00:23:39] Mysterious chills people feel in the room, things like that.

Julie Bartucca: [00:23:42] I know that some people think there’s an urban legend that there’s a Johnathan dog mascot buried on campus, but that’s not an urban legend.

Tom Breen: [00:23:49] There’s at least two.

Maxine Philavong: [00:23:50] Like the suit or the dog?

Julie Bartucca: [00:23:51] No, the dog. Yeah, we buried the suit.

Tom Breen: [00:23:55] That would be amazing.

Julie Bartucca: [00:23:56] Let’s do it.

Ken Best: [00:23:57] The suit usually gets put in the trash.

Julie Bartucca: [00:23:59] No, we, Hey, they busted out the old suit at the gamble anniversary game a couple weeks ago.

Tom Breen: [00:24:04] We should have it preserved under glass like it’s linen. What’d you just said? It’s like a, it’s like a Jonathan mummy.

Julie Bartucca: [00:24:08] Yes.

Ken Best: [00:24:09] Fortunately we had it because we did the mascot exhibit at the puppet museuma couple of years ago, and we had the original.

Julie Bartucca: [00:24:17] Suit the creepy looking one.

Maxine Philavong: [00:24:18] There’s actually a Viking funeral everytime.

Tom Breen: [00:24:23] Into mirror Lake and just set it on fire. It’s very moving. Um, yeah. I know Jonathan one is buried on the corner of 1-95 and North Eagleville.

There’s a plaque.

Julie Bartucca: [00:24:33] It’s right by the sign, right?

Tom Breen: [00:24:34] Yep. Yeah, but then there’s a Jonathan, there’s another Jonathon buried near the water towers and I don’t think there’s a marker. I don’t, I don’t know.

Julie Bartucca: [00:24:41] Might be the unknown jonathan.

Tom Breen: [00:24:42] That might be Jonathan the fifth, but I could be wrong about that.

Julie Bartucca: [00:24:44] Which one was hit by a car?

Tom Breen: [00:24:45] The, a lot of them were hit by cars like Jonathan one was hit by a car.

Julie Bartucca: [00:24:50] How many times have we talked about Jonathans being hit by cars on this podcast?

Ken Best: [00:24:54] Well you’re the Jonathan correspondent.

Julie Bartucca: [00:24:56] I know. Do we have any other urban legends at UConn that you know of?

Tom Breen: [00:24:59] This is, see, I really want to get into this because I once dated a woman who had gone to Bryn Mawr.

And like they have a million, they have all kinds of bizarre, legendary and lore and things. And I always felt like I missed out on that, certainly.

Julie Bartucca: [00:25:11] I feel like it’s like a public university. It’s not as like,

Tom Breen: [00:25:14] Yeah, but UNC has a lot of it too. And they’re public universities. Probably UVA does as well. Those fancy pants public universities down South.

Julie Bartucca: [00:25:21] Yeah. No. What the, this, this is a terrible, I don’t know if this will make it the cut, but the other day, have you ever heard the La-a story?

Tom Breen: [00:25:29] No.

Julie Bartucca: [00:25:30] So, this was something when I was in college, someone was like, Oh, this girl I know worked at a school and there was a student and her name was spelled L, A ,hyphen, a.

And she’s like, what the heck is that? And then the mom’s like, it’s La Dasha and this is big joke. And then my grandmother told me that her friend’s daughter is a nurse and someone named their baby La-a and you look it up on Snopes and it’s like, there’s no record of anyone ever anywhere named La-a.

But it always comes in this like…someone I know knew this person that this happened to. This is very real. That’s the biggest urban legend. I can remember it, but my grandmother even told me about it.

Tom Breen: [00:26:08] It’s amazing. It’s, it’s weird when someone tells you something, who knows? And urban legend and,

Julie Bartucca: [00:26:11] Yeah, I did. I pulled it up on Snopes and I was like, this is not real. No, no. Social security record anywhere has that name.

Ken Best: [00:26:18] The secret society is only thing I ever heard, and we know that at least one of them existed.

Julie Bartucca: [00:26:23] Yeah.

Tom Breen: [00:26:23] Yup. That’s right. The druids.

Julie Bartucca: [00:26:26] Druids, that’s right.

Tom Breen: [00:26:28] The Druids. There’s also a lot of talk about the tunnels under UConn and that those are real. They’re utility tunnels under UConn.

Julie Bartucca: [00:26:32] You’re supposed to take me to those once and you never have.

Tom Breen: [00:26:35] Well I haven’t been myself.

Julie Bartucca: [00:26:37] Okay.

Tom Breen: [00:26:37] I think my window opportunity closed in the tunnels.

Julie Bartucca: [00:26:39] And there’s that room with all the like taxidermy.

Tom Breen: [00:26:43] Yes.

Julie Bartucca: [00:26:43] That’s really cool.

Tom Breen: [00:26:44] Yeah.

Maxine Philavong: [00:26:45] Where’s that?

Tom Breen: [00:26:46] That is a storage facility on the other side of horse barn Hill. We had a, we still have a museum of natural history, but they don’t have a permanent facility, but they have a collection.

And so there’s this room that’s like full of taxidermied animals from all over the world. And I found out about this because I have a friend who’s a UConn fire department. They got a call that there was a smoke alarm going off and there there had been, I think a fire, like a small fire in this building.

They didn’t know what it was, but they opened the door and suddenly there’s like Willdabeast and like antelope everywhere. And they look what? What is this. What did we stumbled on?

Julie Bartucca: [00:27:15] Oh my gosh,

Ken Best: [00:27:16] There, there is a actual, it’s not, it’s not an urban legends actual room at Yale School of Medicine. It’s called the brain room.

It’s where in the early days of of neurosurgery, the brains were removed and put in jars like in the Frankenstein story. And so there’s rooms with, with brain’s on there for study, for medical purposes, for research.

Julie Bartucca: [00:27:43] I’m sure there are plenty of interesting things like that. It’s reminds me of your hidden UConn magazine story.

Tom Breen: [00:27:47] Yeah.

Julie Bartucca: [00:27:48] Getting away from urban legends and into just like weird stuff you didn’t know existed.

Tom Breen: [00:27:52] I bet Yale has a lot because they’ve been around forever.

Ken Best: [00:27:54] And it’s a right of passage for the medical school students to visit there in their first year.

Tom Breen: [00:27:59] Sure.

Maxine Philavong: [00:27:59] My friend who dating someone at the medical school was shown around that brain movement is really weird.

Tom Breen: [00:28:04] That sounds pretty weird. What’s going on down there at Yale? What’s up with you folks.

Julie Bartucca: [00:28:08] This has become a Yale disparagement.

Tom Breen: [00:28:10] No. No, we never did that. They’re, they’re perfectly happy with the cotton mather founded university down there. He did!

Ken Best: [00:28:17] Well, we did become the state flagship institution,

Julie Bartucca: [00:28:21] So there Yale,

Tom Breen: [00:28:23] Take that.

Ken Best: [00:28:23] He wanted it. They didn’t get it.

Tom Breen: [00:28:25] Bet you regret going to Yale now.With all, with all your future Supreme court justice classmates.

Julie Bartucca: [00:28:30] Well, this has gone off the rails as usual.

Tom Breen: [00:28:31] We should probably wrap it up. I want to put this out.

Julie Bartucca: [00:28:35] I’m impressed by you, Tom.

Tom Breen: [00:28:36] I had nothing prepared. I want to put this out to with listeners though. Those of you who have not switched off in anger over at our Yale bashing. If you’ve, if you can think of a UConn urban legend or just something weird that you’ve always heard about UConn, because there are weird stories that are true, like the missing nuclear reactor.

Go ahead and just message us on Twitter. We’re at UConn podcast, let us know. I’d love to hear what kind of drained stories you’ve heard about UConn or questions you’ve had. If you wondered if it’s true or not. Like, you know, like if a celebrity went here or, so, there’s always like stories like that. Yeah.

Yeah. Things like that, that people always ask about Judy Collins,

Ken Best: [00:29:06] Someone who actually graduated, and that just sat in the class.

Julie Bartucca: [00:29:09] Gosh, Brian.

Tom Breen: [00:29:11] Yeah. Tony Todd also was a briefly UConn student.

Julie Bartucca: [00:29:13] I don’t know who that is.

Tom Breen: [00:29:14] He was the actor who most famously in the role of the Candyman, the a horror film.

Ken Best: [00:29:18] He’s on star Trek.

Tom Breen: [00:29:20] Yeah, he’s great. He’s a good follow on Twitter. Speaking of Twitter. Maxine, is there anything that you’d want people to know?

Maxine Philavong: [00:29:27] Yeah, you can follow me on Twitter at Maxine Philavong.

Tom Breen: [00:29:29] How’s things at the internship?

Maxine Philavong: [00:29:31] It’s fun.

Tom Breen: [00:29:31] Yeah,

Maxine Philavong: [00:29:31] Having a good time. I got to answer phones for the talk show.

Tom Breen: [00:29:34] Nice.

Maxine Philavong: [00:29:35] I got to screen collars. It’s fun.

Tom Breen: [00:29:38] Pretty cool. Julie, is there anything you want people to know?

Julie Bartucca: [00:29:41] I’m at Julie Bartucca and UConn magazine’s latest issue is up on magazine.uconn.edu and hitting mailboxes. And Ken was going to talk about that, I think. Maybe.

Ken Best: [00:29:51] Didn’t need to.

Julie Bartucca: [00:29:52] Yeah, I stole it from you. Sorry. Really cool cover.

Tom Breen: [00:29:56] Other than the magazine. Ken, what’s going on?

Ken Best: [00:29:57] Well, today.uconn.edu and a sporadic couple of weeks on w H U S because of baseball preemptions the baseball season has begun. Our team is traveling, so the warm weather and we air all those games on 91.7 WHUS, UConn’s sound alternative.

Tom Breen: [00:30:15] Go Huskies. All right, everyone, thanks for listening and do send us those urban legends!