Top 10 funny things about UMKC

Charlie Upchurch

1. Kansas City’s first attempt at a university was envisioned by the area’s Methodist churches as “Lincoln and Lee University,” after Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee. It was supposedly an attempt to placate divisions between Northern and Southern sympathizing Methodist churches in the area in 1925. Uh… good thinking, guys.

2. We have an amazing observatory open to the public on Friday evenings but is little known and used by students. My theory? No one wants to risk mispronouncing the truly intimidating “Warkoczewski Observatory.” Their website can give you a little help with it.

3. The new three-way stop sign at 51st and Oak Street I mean, come on kids, it’s not the best area for a crosswalk but this “solution” causes a lot of traffic. When I was a freshman and sophomore in the dorms, I had to dart across to get to Muddy’s or Kin-Lin—trust me, it keeps you sharp. Just pretend you’re playing Frogger.

4. The Written English Proficiency Test (WEPT). You know, that burdensome exam you “have” to take before you get into any writing-intensive classes that is also a requirement for graduation. The one that’s supposed to make sure students are able to write at a college level. Listen, I have edited many a fellow student’s essays and practices for the WEPT, and if these people are passing, it means the WEPT is a loophole you have to jump through that requires rote memorization of correct citing procedures instead of testing graduates of UMKC on their ability to write a paper that follows any rules of grammar, structure or logic, for that matter.

5. Walt Disney, creator of UMKC’s kangaroo mascot (which gets plenty of laughs itself), attended grade school in Grant Hall back in the day.

6. If you want to perk up on a bad day, just take a few minutes to watch the line at the Cashier’s Office in the Administrative Center. Everyone stands there with a bill or form in hand, arms crossed, tapping their feet, crankily talking on their cell phones and then when someone finally turns away from the counter, (most likely) admitting defeat you get to watch their eyes twitch as they try to refrain from pulling their hair out in public.

7. Epperson House’s “haunted” status has always been a point of interest on campus. I’ve read the stories and I know it’s been on “Unsolved Mysteries” as one of the top five haunted houses in the U.S., but the only ghostly wraiths I’ve seen in my times at Epperson are overworked urban planning students pulling an all-nighter. But, to be fair, that’s pretty horrifying.

8. The best part about UMKC? Getting to class is like preparing for an adventure. I live five minutes away from campus, but in order to make it to class on time, I have to leave 20-30 minutes early just to find a parking space. I usually pack snacks (Power Bars help sustain your energy), some sort of hydration and sock full of quarters so I can negotiate the parking meters, which are usually easier than circling through the Rockhill Parking Structure enough times to make me nauseous.

9. The best response I got when pondering what was most funny about UMKC with friends was… that they let me graduate! And then I just couldn’t stay away… from the English Department, mainly.

10. If you’ve been to the bookstore at the Student Union, you’d feel a weird sense of déjà vu walking into the bookstore on University of Missouri-Columbia’s (Mizzou) campus… because they are almost exactly the same. Same hip first floor with a ton of UMKC garb, same cavernous basement book section. I know UMKC wants to become more of a residential campus, but I would hope we’d have enough pride and individuality not to become a second-rate Mizzou.

That being said—I’ve done a lot of ragging on UMKC here, but that’s one of the things that makes UMKC great. It’s a hodgepodge mix of commuting, non-traditional and residential students from all walks of life in an urban setting that facilitates learning.

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