On Wisconsin http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com For UW-Madison Alumni and Friends Wed, 14 Jun 2017 18:03:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 Mad Rollin’ Dolls Gallery http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/mad-rollin-dolls-gallery/ http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/mad-rollin-dolls-gallery/#respond Fri, 26 May 2017 15:02:33 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=20667 At least 21 of the 139 skaters in the Mad Rollin’ Dolls, Madison’s flat-track roller derby league, are UW-Madison graduates, students, faculty, or staff. The Madison league is a leader in national roller derby culture, helping to refine the rules of the sport to make it more welcoming to transgender athletes. Read the article, “A Rink of One’s Own.”

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Jake Lubenow http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/conversation/jake-lubenow/ http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/conversation/jake-lubenow/#respond Mon, 22 May 2017 17:52:18 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=20236 Lubenow_Jake17_4009-Edit-flat

Jake Lubenow x’18

With more than 300 dues-paying members, the College Republicans of UW–Madison is one of the organization’s largest chapters in the country. Chair Jake Lubenow x’18 is tasked with navigating the group through a time of heightened political tension. Despite bringing in high-profile conservatives — including Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and House Speaker Paul Ryan — the students keep a low profile on campus.

What’s the main priority for the College Republicans?
During an election season, we go to all the call centers and [we] knock [on] doors. [Other conservative student] groups are much more activism based. They’re about convincing people that conservative ideals are better. Our goal is to get Republican leaders elected.

How does your experience as a conservative differ from a liberal on campus?
A great example is that you see the College Democrats on every street corner on Election Day, and they’re [setting up tables] everywhere. We do it much more quietly. We can’t put posters in dorms, because we’re afraid that people will show up at our meeting and yell at us. I think, as a conservative, you just have to be a lot more mindful of your surroundings. There are people in our [organization] who have roommates who don’t talk to them anymore after this past election. I’ve had friends block me from Facebook.

How do you reconcile feelings of pride in your institution with frustrations of being on a campus where you feel like your viewpoints are in the minority?
I grew up a Badger. My [family members have] always been Badger fans. I’ve always looked at the school as something larger than the administration, students, and people in the city. I actually think alumni have a huge part in that. I believe we’re rated one of the best in terms of how alumni help students in school and once they get out.

College Republicans and College Democrats seem to have a very cordial relationship, despite opposing goals. Why is that?
We had a debate last semester. [College Democrats Chair] Augie [McGinnity-Wake] and I had closing statements about rectifying the problems that we have on campus with discourse. And we both said, “At the end of the day, Republicans and Democrats have the same goals. We both want the country to be a better place for everyone. … It’s just that our methods of getting to that point are very different.” That conversation is a lot more productive than us playing identity politics and me saying, “You’re a communist,” and him saying, “You’re a racist.” Augie is also just a nice person — we’re really good friends. That just comes from having an open mind and not judging people based on their [political] beliefs, but judging them as human beings and getting to know them.

Interview conducted, edited, and condensed by Preston Schmitt ’14

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Power Walking http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/power-walking/ http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/power-walking/#respond Mon, 22 May 2017 17:51:58 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=20251 power-walk-cropped

Spencer Watts

The next renewable energy source could be right underfoot. A group of UW–Madison engineers has developed an inexpensive method to convert footsteps into electricity using wood pulp and nanofibers incorporated into flooring. It marks the latest advance in “roadside energy harvesting” — green energy that could, in some settings, rival solar power and doesn’t depend on fair weather. High-traffic areas, such as a stadium or mall, could produce significant amounts of energy. Associate professor Xudong Wang hopes to demonstrate the concept by building an educational prototype in a high-profile spot on campus.

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Lake Laboratory http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/vision/lake-laboratory/ http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/vision/lake-laboratory/#respond Mon, 22 May 2017 17:51:45 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=20147 Dawn patrol on Lake Mendota: Carolyn Voter PhDx’18 (right) and Alexandra Linz ’13, PhDx’18 collect water samples before sunrise. The work was part of a 44-hour limnology experiment that took place in July 2016 and examined how light affects bacteria and carbon exchange.

Photo by Jeff Miller

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Muir Knoll http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/destination/muir-knoll-2/ http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/destination/muir-knoll-2/#respond Mon, 22 May 2017 17:51:19 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=20366 Muir_Knoll17_2091

Muir Knoll is a small, knobby extension of a drumlin — in this case, Bascom Hill — formed by the retreat of the last glaciers that remade Wisconsin’s landscape.


In 1919, one year after the knoll was dedicated to naturalist John Muir x1863, it got something new: a ski jump that extended down the slope toward Lake Mendota. Its replacement was removed in the 1950s. UW.UWArchives.dn06021404.bib


A staircase from the Lakeshore Path, west of the Hasler Laboratory of Limnology, leads visitors through Muir Woods to the knoll, which today is home to the Robert E. Gard Storyteller’s Circle, dedicated in 2011.


“To a good friend the way is not long though he be far away,” reads the inscription on a Swedish rune stone placed in memory of Thomas Brittingham Jr., a charter member of the UW Foundation, after his death in 1960.

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Class of 2020 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/calculation/class-of-2020/ http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/calculation/class-of-2020/#respond Mon, 22 May 2017 17:50:46 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=20213 2020-infograph

Sources: Academic Planning and Institutional Research; UW–Madison Office of the Registrar

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Oscar the Optimist? http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/oscar-the-optimist/ http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/oscar-the-optimist/#respond Mon, 22 May 2017 17:47:49 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=20223 Sesame Street partners with UW researchers to promote kindness.]]> If it were up to Elmo, the world would be a kinder place — down to the very trash can Oscar the Grouch calls home.


© 2017 Sesame Workshop

Sesame Street, one of the most beloved children’s television shows, is emphasizing kindness in its current season with the help of the UW’s Center for Healthy Minds, which studies the science of well-being and how it can be nurtured.

Driven by an increasing number of news stories on anger, fear, bullying, and violence, the season focuses on kids’ social–emotional skills.

“The kind of interventions and practices we’re studying have a great deal of relevance and promise for the types of problems we’re facing today in our culture,” says Richard Davidson, the center’s founder and the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry. “These strategies help people to recognize that we’re all the same — we all share a desire to be happy and free of suffering, and when we embrace that perspective, divisions become more permeable and less formidable as obstacles.”

Associate scientist Lisa Flook and outreach specialist Laura Pinger MS’79 joined writers, producers, and educators at Sesame Street’s headquarters in New York City in summer 2015 to present the UW’s mindfulness-based Kindness Curriculum and scientific results from classroom studies.

The episodes, airing first on HBO and then on PBS later this year, make learning about emotions and caring for others a priority. For instance, Elmo leads a playful intermission in which he replays scenes from the episode and points out acts of kindness for his young viewers. Another sketch looks at how mindful breathing helps calm an anxious Muppet. Even Oscar joins in: he is reminded to remain open to what his pet worm wants to do, even if it means leaving his trash can and meeting new people.

Who said a grouch can’t have a kind streak?

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“Yes, and …” http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/yes-and/ http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/yes-and/#respond Mon, 22 May 2017 17:47:49 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=20205 Improv_Class17_7109

Medical professionals and UW students in health care disciplines learn improv techniques so they can tap creativity and spontaneity in stressful moments on the job. Bryce Richter

Late on a Monday afternoon, a student stands in the center of a circle inside the School of Nursing’s Signe Skott Cooper Hall. She is pretending to ride a bike, but when a second student asks what she is doing, she says she is giving birth. The class laughs, and the second student trades places with the first and plops down on the floor to (discreetly) pantomime childbirth. The first student joins the circle. When a third asks the student on the floor what she is doing, she says she is grabbing a snake. The third student hops up and switches places with the second student. And on it goes.

This is a game, but it’s also a way to practice thinking and doing two different things at once. It is also the day’s warm-up exercise for Improvisational Theater for Health Professionals, a six-week, one-credit course offered by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. The course attracts students and professionals from a variety of health disciplines who are learning to collaborate better to improve care and patient satisfaction.

“A lot of people know improv as a form of sketch comedy, and it is that,” says assistant professor Amy Zelenski MS’10, PhD’15, who developed and teaches the course. “But improv really pulls together many skills that are necessary for communication in the health care environment.”

Zelenski says improv techniques are powerful for teaching students and practitioners to listen closely, imagine others’ perspectives, respond authentically to others’ emotions, and tap creativity and spontaneity in stressful moments. All of these skills, she says, can lead to better patient experiences.

Sierra Mayorga, a senior nursing student, heard about the class from a professor who took it last year. Mayorga expected it to be fun, but she was a bit surprised by how relevant and practical it was, too. “I realized it would help us a lot, because we do a lot of improvisation in our work with patients. We never know what they’re going to be like or what they’ll be asking of us,” she says. “It’s given me a more holistic approach to patient care and how I communicate with people.”

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Protest vs. Disrupt http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/protest-vs-disrupt/ http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/protest-vs-disrupt/#respond Mon, 22 May 2017 17:47:49 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=20170 Downs_Donald_hs10_9754

UW officials “are trying to get this right,” says Donald Downs, a noted free-speech expert and an emeritus professor of political science. Jeff Miller

A fresh wave of clashes on college campuses across the country is pitting free-speech advocates against those who say some ideas are so potentially harmful that they shouldn’t be tolerated in an inclusive learning environment.

It’s a high-stakes issue for a public institution like UW–Madison, which is granted significant autonomy, yet is expected in return to safeguard the unfettered pursuit of truth, says Donald Downs, an emeritus professor of political science and an expert on free speech. If the university were to curtail the free exchange of ideas, it would imperil its social contract, he says.

“The people I’ve dealt with in the administration are trying to get this right,” Downs says. “But with this issue, you’re playing with fire.”

This spring, UW officials, watching the issue unfold nationally, issued guidelines that explicitly state the university’s response to protests and demonstrations. While the document doesn’t change policy, it reaffirms a commitment to free speech, teaching, research, and personal safety, says associate dean of students Kevin Helmkamp. The guidelines clarify the difference between protesting, which is welcome, and disrupting, which is not.

“You can go to an event, you can stand up with duct tape over your mouth, you can turn your back on people who are presenting — that’s protesting, and nobody’s going to have a problem with that,” Helmkamp says. “But when your actions prevent somebody else from exercising his or her free speech, that’s disrupting an event. That’s disrupting the university’s mission and values.”

Once a protest or protester begins to infringe on those core values, the administration may respond more assertively with arrest, enforcement of the student conduct code, or both, Helmkamp says.

To head off that outcome, administrators spell out behavior expectations in the guidelines, and they offer to work proactively with students on the logistics of events, protests, or demonstrations.

State legislators waded into the issue this spring, too, drafting a bill that would require University of Wisconsin System officials to discipline students and employees who disrupt speakers. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has expressed support for the measure, and lawmakers in North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Virginia have proposed similar bills.

Helmkamp acknowledges that the issue elicits strong emotion, especially among students who believe someone’s words make the campus less welcoming or undercut their basic humanity.

“The great joy and the great pain of democracy is that you have these moments where you are passionate about an issue and you want to shut the other side down,” he says. “The challenge to every individual is to rise above those instincts — to see a greater good, and to respond to that greater good with a better argument, a better idea.”

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Our Man in Berlin http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/our-man-in-berlin/ http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/our-man-in-berlin/#respond Mon, 22 May 2017 17:47:49 +0000 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=20050 Louis Lochner 1909 was dumbfounded when British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned to London and trumpeted “peace for our time” after signing a pact in Munich that allowed Germany to annex the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia. The mood outside 10 Downing Street on September 30, 1938, was euphoric, and Chamberlain recommended that the assembled crowd “go home and sleep quietly in your beds.”

Lochner, the bureau chief for the Associated Press in Berlin, couldn’t understand the naïveté behind appeasement — he knew better than anyone that Adolf Hitler would not stop until he dominated all of Europe. That night, as Britain slept, the Nazis marched into Czechoslovakia.

Six weeks later, Lochner filed this story for the AP:

Berlin, Nov. 10 — The greatest wave of anti-Jewish violence since Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933 swept Nazi Germany today and Jews were threatened with new official measures against them.

Millions of dollars worth of Jewish property was destroyed by angry crowds. Jewish stores were looted. Synagogues were burned, dynamited or damaged in a dozen cities.

Sounds of breaking glass and shouts of looters died away only near midnight. Hundreds of Jews voluntarily spent the night in jails fearing worse violence as reports of burning and looting continued to come in from many cities.

Those three paragraphs were the first that many in the English-speaking world read of Kristallnacht, a nationwide pogrom that killed dozens of Jewish people and led to the systematic persecution and murder of six million.

During two decades as a foreign correspondent, Lochner filed stories about the rise of the Nazis and knew long before many Americans had heard of Hitler that Germany was headed for war. Before the U.S. entry into World War II, he was among a handful of journalists credentialed to cover the German army in battle. He also managed to tick off Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister for the Third Reich, and was interned by the Germans following the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Lochner returned home and wrote a book detailing the rise of the authoritarian regime, in which he eschewed his wire service objectivity and let his emotions flow: “I want the reader to feel as burning an anger as I do at the perversion of civilization that Adolf Hitler is trying to foist on an unwilling world.” Lochner was the son of German immigrants — his father was a Lutheran minister — and he grew up in Milwaukee speaking their native language at home. He went on to study journalism at the UW, after switching his major from Greek and Latin, and his senior thesis was on Wisconsin’s primary elections. He was active on campus as director of the German Glee Club, secretary of the junior class, a writer for the Badger yearbook, a Daily Cardinal reporter, and a member of the International Club.

“I place my association with students from all parts of the world ahead of my book learning and technical training I acquired,” Lochner wrote in his memoir, Always the Unexpected. “It was certainly splendid preparation for my later life’s work as a foreign correspondent. I learned to cultivate the ‘international mind.’ ”

As a student, Lochner became active in the peace movement, and in 1909, he attended an international meeting of students in Holland. There, Lochner recalls in his memoir, British journalist and pacifist William Stead, editor of the journal Review of Reviews, told the students that modern wars had become so costly and destructive that countries would never risk “unleashing the terrifying instruments of death which technology has developed.” Stead’s words resonated with Lochner, who had no inkling he would later cover a war that would unleash instruments of death that killed millions of people.

Later that year, Lochner graduated, and he served as editor of the Wisconsin Alumni Magazine (the predecessor of On Wisconsin) for six years. He continued to travel abroad and play an active role in international pacifist organizations, including working for auto tycoon Henry Ford’s failed Peace Ship expedition to Europe in 1916 — experiences that he said influenced his work as a journalist in Germany. “I could never persuade myself that any nation is made up of preponderantly bad people,” he wrote.

His first wife, Emmy, died in 1920, a victim of the Spanish flu epidemic, and in 1921 Lochner moved to Berlin, where he later met and married a German woman, Hilde De Terra. He wrote for a labor press service and freelanced stories to daily newspapers and trade union publications. He also worked as a literary agent for Maxim Gorky, helping the Russian writer find a publisher for his books in Japan.

Joining the Associated Press in Berlin in 1924 was a dream come true.

“It was Big League journalism whose gates I had crashed. I was now working for the world’s largest news-gathering association, whose daily dissemination of information covered events in every corner of the globe and was read by millions of readers,” Lochner wrote.

As a reporter for the AP in Berlin, and later its bureau chief beginning in 1928, Lochner’s words and photographs documenting the rise of the Third Reich were transmitted around the world. He interviewed Hitler shortly after his release from prison in 1925 and the publication of Mein Kampf, the first of many interviews as he began his rise to power.

Whether by cultivating sources, old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting, or assiduously reading German newspapers and periodicals for tidbits of information that could lead to a bigger story, Lochner was adept at his job — one that became more difficult when Hitler became chancellor in 1933. All German journalists needed government- issued permits to work and could lose them for writing or saying anything not in line with the Nazi regime. Losing a job and livelihood at a time when much of the world was in an economic depression meant there were few dissenting voices in Germany.

Many newspapers closed and publications that remained all printed the same news — hand-fed by Goebbels and the propaganda ministry. Foreign journalists working in Germany faced restictions that were not quite as draconian, but they were kept under surveillance — their phones tapped, mail opened, and conversations monitored. A daily terror was suffocating Germany, and Lochner witnessed Brown Shirts beating people in the street. He heard the anguished cries from Gestapo headquarters on Berlin’s Prinz Albrecht Strasse. He repeatedly requested to visit concentration camps — pleas that the Nazi propaganda office rebuffed.

In the book Breaking News: How the Associated Press Has Covered War, Peace, and Everything Else, a chapter about foreign correspondents describes the difficult position Lochner often found himself in: “Reporters in Nazi Germany had to walk a tightrope — especially important for news agency staffers because of their thousands of clients — in balancing the need to cover the story with maintaining access to officials and avoiding expulsion. Almost inevitably, there were accusations, which AP consistently fought, that Lochner was pro-German.”

In 1939, Lochner won the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage, which often went without a byline, as was the custom for the wire service. When he returned to the United States to pick up the award that June, he visited his hometown and stopped by the Milwaukee Journal. Staffers in the newsroom asked Lochner where and when Hitler would strike next. Though Lochner’s comments were off the record at the time of his visit, a story the Journal published on October 24, 1942, recounted the AP newsman’s prescient remarks: Hitler probably would not make a move until late August, and the crisis might involve border disturbances or trouble concerning a minority of Germans living in another country. He also told the newspaper’s reporters and editors not to underestimate Hitler.

After Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, under the pretext of retaking land disputed between the two countries, Lochner was among the foreign journalists who followed German troops as they swept through Poland, followed by Denmark, Holland, Belgium, France, Yugoslavia, and Greece. He cabled thousands of words from the front lines and witnessed the French surrender in June 1940 in Compiègne — in the same rail car where Germany had signed the armistice that ended World War I. He was in Paris when Nazi troops marched down the Champs-Élysées. Lochner knew his days working freely in Berlin were numbered once Germany declared war on America, but he didn’t think they would come to an end until spring 1942 at the earliest. On December 7, 1941, he was dining with top Nazi officials in Berlin when a telephone call from New York interrupted his dinner with an urgent message: Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor and the AP needed reaction from German officials. Lochner returned to his dinner companions, asked questions, scribbled some notes, and phoned them in to the bureau. Two days later, the FBI arrested German newsmen in the United States. He knew, under the German system of reprisals, American journalists in Germany faced a similar fate.

The next day Lochner showed up for the daily press conference at the propaganda ministry, where a Nazi official told him and the other U.S. journalists to go home, which meant house arrest, until further notice. But Lochner didn’t go straight home — this was news, and he needed to file a story. He wrote and sent his last Berlin dispatch, called the city’s other AP journalists and told them not to come into the office, and thanked the bureau’s German staff.

Lochner was among 115 Americans interned for almost five months at a hotel near Frankfurt, unable to file any stories home. In a scrapbook, now housed among Lochner’s papers at the Wisconsin Historical Society on the UW campus, the newsman affixed souvenirs of his internment at a chateau in Bad Nauheim. Black-and-white photos show prisoners performing daily calisthenics, and a pamphlet lists classes Lochner and his fellow internees taught at the “University in Exile” they established to stave off boredom. (His subjects were American geography and German military history.)

“Lochner is behaving in an especially contemptible way. His attacks are directed above all against German propaganda and he aims at me personally,” a frustrated Goebbels wrote in a May 19, 1942, diary entry. “I have never thought much of Lochner. We made too much fuss about him. We can now see what happens in time of crisis.” (The diary was found in the courtyard of the Reich Ministry of Propaganda in Soviet-occupied Berlin in 1945, and Lochner was the one who did the translation after its discovery.) The propaganda minister was furious that while German journalists wrote what they were told, he couldn’t control foreign reporters.

By late May, the Germans released the American reporters in a prisoner swap. When Lochner returned to U.S. shores on June 1, 1942, an AP colleague met him at the dock and slapped him on the back with the greeting, “What about Germany?” For the next 30 days, the question was repeated with increasing insistence from colleagues who thought he should write a book about his experiences there. Lochner hesitated, because the material he was able to bring home from Germany was incomplete and, in a way, he felt he was too close to the events that took place during his more than two decades in the country. But he ultimately decided the task was too important, and he finished work on it five months later.

“I had to assume that a copy of such a book would fall into Nazi hands — in fact, I hope it will. I know the methods of Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, but I can face, with considerable equanimity, his efforts to discredit it,” he wrote in the foreword to What About Germany?

The book succinctly and eloquently outlined how Hitler managed to take over an entire country and twist Germans to subscribe to his obscene ideas, and it examined why no one stopped the dictator before it was too late.

Hitler recognized that the common man can grasp an idea better if it is presented to him in concrete symbols rather than abstract, Lochner wrote. And the dictator knew that in order to “remain virile,” a movement needs not only its own ideology but an opponent against whom it can match wits (Jews and Communists in his case). He also had a remarkable faculty for being all things to all people.

“Hitler merely had to unleash the proper emotions in each crowd, show sympathy and understanding for its problems, and the case was won,” Lochner wrote. “Apparently no one bothered to expose the inconsistencies in his arguments.”

Lochner returned to Europe in 1944, this time reporting on American troops as they fought against the German army he had followed into battle just a few years earlier.

“I had gnashed my teeth many a time in impotent rage when I saw how Hitler was overrunning Europe,” he wrote in his memoir. “Now I was retracing my steps, this time with an army determined to restore freedom to Europe. It made all the difference in the world to me.”

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