A Totally Honest Guide to Life at Regis University for Honey Boo Boo | Westword

Honey Boo Boo Handbook: A Totally Honest Guide to Life at Regis University for the Reality Star

Alana Thompson, better known as Honey Boo Boo, is one of Denver's newest residents as she begins her freshman year at Regis University.
Regis students start classes this week, including Honey Boo Boo.
Regis students start classes this week, including Honey Boo Boo. Regis University
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Denver is adding another celebrity resident to its roster this fall: Alana Thompson, famously known as the child star Honey Boo Boo, will be attending Regis University.

In July, Thompson told Entertainment Tonight about her plans to head to the northwest Denver campus, with classes officially starting this week. Thompson is entering Regis’s Loretto Heights School of Nursing, which regularly ranks as the top nursing program in Colorado. Her goal is to become a neonatal nurse.

After gaining fame as a pageant star on the TLC show Toddlers and Tiaras, Thompson went on to get her own spin-off show: Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

There aren’t too many modern-day Regis alumni who can really be considered famous. Bill Murray is one of its best-known alums, though he never completed his studies at the school. (Still, he was awarded an honorary degree in 2007.)

Former Major League Baseball player Steven Brault got his degree from Regis, as did several Colorado politicians, including Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera and U.S. Representative Yadira Caraveo.

If Thompson were to turn her time at the school into a reality show, she’d be showing the world a hidden gem that many Denverites themselves are not familiar with.

“I have been on TV my whole life, and I kind of just basically accepted that whether I want to go be a nurse or I want to go be an accountant, whatever I want to go be, that I will always be in the spotlight," Thompson told ET. "It doesn't matter what I do, I will always probably be known as, 'Oh, my God, Honey Boo Boo's working on my baby when he was in the NICU.'"

With Thompson looking ahead to the new school year, some Regis grads (myself included) decided to welcome her in the best way possible: with a brutally honest survival guide.

The Essentials: Ghosts, Bathrooms and Parking

Thompson says she doesn’t plan to live on campus for security reasons, but she will still spend plenty of time there — which means she may have to deal with some spooky activity on its premises.

Main Hall, the iconic central building at the north end of the school’s grassy quad, was built in 1887 and is a constant source of ghost stories and legendary haunts. In 2016, the school asked people to share their supernatural experiences at the campus on Facebook.

“As a former Security Officer (1987-2009) I have several incident's that will make your skin curl,” commented Ralph Ursini. He included a story of unexplained noises on the top floor of Main Hall.

Personally, my freshman-year dorm room in DeSmet Hall was most definitely haunted, and the bathroom in the Residence Village, where I lived the following year, was visited by the ghost of a fluffy white cat.

Another campus icon everyone needs to track down is the famous Van Ek-Fedde Crucifix, known to students as Black Jesus. The statue can be found on the west side of the chapel in the meditation garden. It’s a great place to go for some peace and quiet, or a great view. But on rowdier nights, students also love to go there and take a shot of alcohol with the statue.

That’s not the only activity on campus that Jesus might not approve of.

“Perhaps this advice is too far, but I stand by it: Don’t buy a parking pass,” my friend Thomas Jones declares.

Jones says a better strategy is to park your car on campus, get ticketed and then don't pay the tickets. His theory: “Never buy a parking pass or register your vehicle in any way with the university, and you’ll be fine the whole time. No way for them to track down whose car it is.”

Another situation that can sometimes be improved by anonymity is using the bathrooms on campus.

A survey of several people I know who went to Regis concluded that the best bathrooms are the ones in Main Hall, because they're private.“They are weirdly large, too,” my former roommate, Caroline Conrad, notes. “But also beware: I accidentally walked in on someone because they forgot to lock it, and it was weird because he was so far away.”

The bathrooms in Clark — one of the newer buildings on campus — are also nice, and the stalls on the first floor of the Dayton Memorial Library can come in clutch during a study session.

“And not that weird one in [Peter Claver Hall] where the entrance is around the tightest corner and you always awkwardly bump into people,” Conrad warns.

Rules Were Meant to Be Broken

While my friends and I spent plenty of time studying or participating in various extracurricular activities, we also spent plenty of time...not doing those things.
click to enlarge Honey Boo Boo, a blonde girl, leans against a brick wall.
Alana Thompson is on her way to becoming a Denverite.
@honeybooboo on Instagram

Over the years, we collected a few hacks for having some fun without getting in trouble for it — and ways to stay out of trouble that you might not have considered.

The school, and particularly the dorms, always seemed to be strict on checking bags during the holidays, so be extra cautious with sneaking in illicit materials around those times if you decide to visit friends in the dorms.

A major tip: Be sure to wrap bottles in some sort of fabric so they don’t clink together and give you away.

If you’re going to smoke marijuana, the smartest choice is to walk off campus to do it. Since Regis receives federal funding, cannabis use isn't allowed on campus despite its being legal in Colorado. If you really want to light up, though, try heading behind West Hall toward Main Hall, where you'll find a table and some benches. Campus Safety aren’t cops, Jones notes, so they don’t have the same ability to investigate.

His advice for if you get caught doing anything bad: Just deny it.

“I knew a dude who had a whole sheet of acid confiscated by Campus Safety in his dorm room, and he told them the tabs were ‘collectible artwork’ and not acid,” Jones recalls. “He just never admitted it was acid, and he totally got off.”

As far as academic success goes, my friend Masha Rystsov (who is a doctor now) says it’s not a good idea to skip class. “Your school is too small,” she explains. “They will send you a personalized email to check on you.”

The campus is physically compact enough that you will inevitably run into the professor for whichever class you skipped in the dining hall or on the quad. Plus, there are other perks to succeeding academically.

If you make the Dean’s List, there is a bougie reception and they will give you free alcohol — so be sure to study up!

When I asked friends for their advice for Honey Boo Boo, three of them offered tips about printing stuff on campus.

“Find a printer that screws up its connection to the system and prints for free,” Conrad advises. And if you can’t find that, print in Claver Hall.

“The printers there are less likely to smell your fear,” alum Vivian Gatte explains. “But get there early, because nursing students.” Since Thompson will be one of those nursing students, it’s an even better tip for her.

Nursing labs often take place in Claver Hall. In a late-night emergency, the basement of Carroll Hall is usually unlocked, so you can print from the computer labs there.

Finally, unfortunately, “there are no comfortable places to nap in the library,” Conrad reports.

Activities Around the Mile High City

One of the biggest perks of going to Regis is the chance to live in Denver. It will be quite a change from McIntyre, Georgia — where Thompson graduated from high school — but should be fun for the reality TV star.

As with any big city, it's always great to say "yes" when people invite you to do things.

Thompson should take a field trip to Boulder and check out the lore around JonBenét Ramsey. This spring, the house where her body was found went back on the market for $7 million.
click to enlarge A yellow sign saying Rockmount Ranchwear on a brick building against the sky.
This Western store is a great place to shop.
Rockmount Ranch Wear

A hot spot for famous people in Denver is Rockmount Ranch Wear. The store at 1626 Wazee Street has outfitted a wide range of stars — from Bruce Springsteen to Macklemore to Miley Cyrus — over the years. Perhaps Thompson could be the next person to join its celebrity gallery.

Another great thing to do: Go to a sporting event at Ball Arena.

The atmosphere draws in even those who don’t care about basketball or hockey, and there’s no better way to get swept up in pride for your new city.

While you can check out Westword’s restaurant recommendations to explore the breadth of Denver’s culinary scene, there are plenty of spots within walking distance of Regis that are great, like McCoy’s — a once-24-hour diner — and Tocabe, which serves American Indian cuisine.

You can also get to Thai Bao (a Vietnamese restaurant) and El Taco Veloz without ever crossing the street from campus. Once you turn 21, head to Rocky Top Tavern on Sundays when they have $6 smothered burritos. You’ll also inevitably end up eating plenty of Brooklyn’s Finest Pizza, where garlic knots are key.

“Brooklyn’s pizza with the jalapeño cream cheese — enough said,” Gatte recommends.

If you don’t want to spend money on food, there’s pretty much always an event on campus giving it out for free so be sure to stay on the lookout for those. Plus, the Regis Cupboard — located on the bottom floor of the library — provides non-perishable groceries for students.

Lastly, sign up for a Denver Public Library Card. Not only can you read to your heart’s content, but it also offers passes to museums and cultural attractions in the city and movies to stream for free on Kanopy.

But What About Some Real Advice?

Truly, Regis has some of the best professors you’ll ever meet — so don’t take them for granted. Befriend them and visit them during office hours. Get in contact with an advisor within the nursing program early: as Rystsov notes, your original advisor might not know exactly what that program requires.

"I’d tell her that the best part of going to a small university is that you get to know your professors really well and that she should take advantage of that," Congresswoman Caraveo shares when asked what her advice would be for Thompson. "I often had lunch with my professors and worked in the biology department. You don’t always get to form those relationships at large universities!”

Though the school is small, it still offers major perks.

“Definitely take advantage of the free tutoring and therapy,” encourages Esme Campos, a friend of mine who completed the very same nursing program Thompson wants to enter. “Go to classes, because you get info for the exams that are sometimes not in the books.”

Another pal suggests putting chocolate cookies in your pockets during finals week.

But the most important advice we can give you: Introduce yourself to Dave Law.

Law is the director of student life and engagement at Regis, and is honestly just the best person.

In 2022, the school named an award after Law to recognize faculty and staff whose service goes above expectations.

Attempts to reach Thompson were unsuccessful. Regis said it didn’t have anyone who could comment for the story.

Best wishes, Honey Boo Boo. We hope your time in the Mile High City is as sweet as your name.
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