From a Blue Stars press release: The Blue Stars have begun a collaborative relationship with the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, aimed at providing a new opportunity to students who want to march in a drum corps and attend college. Beginning this year, the two organizations will work together with the hopes of providing some of the Blue Stars' marching members access to a high-quality college education while facilitating their development as leaders within the corps. "This is an excellent opportunity," said Blue Stars executive director Greg Struve. "During recruiting season we were consistently hearing from students who were worried about how marching in the Blue Stars might affect them as they prepare for their first year of college. I think this relationship with UW-La Crosse will help waylay many of those concerns." Struve continued, "The relationship also offers many of our existing members from around the country a chance to continue pursuing their academic goals at a top-notch college university and be nearer to their Blue Stars family." He also discussed the possibility that active Blue Stars members may consider applying to the University for the January 2005 semester. "I've already heard from several members who are looking into it." "There are a number of reasons that we think Blue Stars and UW-L will have a great relationship," said UW-La Crosse director of admissions Kathryn Kiefer. "The corps draws members from all over the country and the world, and we're excited about the effect that may have on campus diversity. Also, I'm told that Blue Stars' members are often very accomplished academically, which will help with the application process." Members' academic achievements will no doubt be a significant consideration as enrollment at the college is selective. For fall of 2004 the University received over 6500 applications for approximately 1600 spaces in their freshman class. Interest in the university has steadily increased for years, driven by strong programs in education, science and allied health, exercise and sports science, and business. The college is also one of only 12 universities in the country that offer an undergraduate degree in archaeology. "The Blue Stars are the fastest growing corps in America, and UW-La Crosse is one of the strongest colleges in the Midwest. To me it seems like a natural combination," said long-time Blue Star and UW-L alumnus Brad Furlano. "The work ethic I developed in Blue Stars combined with the skills I learned at UW-L went a long way toward preparing me for life in corporate America." Those interested in auditioning in December and/or learning more about UW-La Crosse should download an audition packet from Blue Stars' Web site.