On Wisconsin http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com For UW-Madison Alumni and Friends Tue, 08 Sep 2015 00:22:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3.1 Get Real http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/get-real-2/ http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/get-real-2/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 05:07:22 +0000 http://test.onwisconsin.wisc.edu/?p=15697 This course teaches that real estate involves far more than selling houses.


Real estate is about much more than selling homes, notes Sharon McCabe, who teaches Real Estate Process. She tries to give her students a grasp of the many ways that land ownership can affect them. Istock photo.

No matter what the economic indicators may say, Sharon McCabe ’89, MS’92 is high on real estate. She believes not only in its financial importance, but also in its educational value.

“Everyone is going to be involved with real estate one way or another,” says McCabe, a faculty associate at the Wisconsin School of Business. “Even if [people] don’t work in real estate, they’ll buy a house or rent or deal with property in a business. Real estate affects everyone.”

To help students come to grips with the vast and varied world of land ownership, McCabe teaches Real Estate Process (RE 306), a course hosted in the Department of Real Estate and Urban Land Economics, but cross-listed in the departments of Urban and Regional Planning, Economics, and Agricultural and Applied Economics. Each semester, more than 250 undergrads enroll in this general survey, which consists of two lectures and one discussion session every week.

“This is about more than just selling houses,” she says. “It’s required for all students who are going to do real estate for their major, but in the class I want to teach all the basics — the dynamics of real estate, property rights, finance and mortgage issues, market research, appraisal, brokerage, and development. I want to give students a sense of what real estate is and how it affects them.”

The course was originally created by the legendary UW professor James A. Graaskamp, and McCabe, a former commercial assessor for the city of Madison, says she still takes inspiration from his principles. “One of the things Graaskamp used to stress is that real estate is multidisciplinary,” she says. “You’ve got to respect all the facets if you want to understand an area’s economy.”

In a September lecture on government controls, for example, McCabe covered issues of zoning and building codes, using Madison regulations as an example. She projected the city’s zoning maps onto a screen and explained which neighborhoods could have commercial or industrial property, which had limits on the height of buildings, and how the width of streets is regulated.

“These rules are important,” she explained, “because the value of real estate is affected by externalities. What you do with your property affects the value of neighboring property. What your neighbors do affects you.”

To illustrate her topic, she points to real-world examples, such as the St. Francis House Episcopal Student Center on University Avenue, which recently received the city’s permission to rebuild as an eight-story structure offering student apartments. To do so, St. Francis had to overcome the objections of its neighbor, Luther Memorial Church, and win support from the city’s Plan Commission, which initially opposed the proposal. In September, the commission voted 15 to 4 in favor of the St. Francis plan.

“One of the most challenging things for developers is getting [permission] to do what they want,” McCabe says.

While McCabe wants her students to learn the terminology of land issues, she has an additional motive — to get them excited about real estate as a career. “I’m trying to turn them into real estate geeks,” she says.

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A New Mission http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/a-new-mission/ http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/a-new-mission/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 22:36:04 +0000 http://test.onwisconsin.wisc.edu/?p=14967 Jake Wood ’05 knew he would become a Marine the week that Pat Tillman died in Afghanistan. His decision was final. He discussed it with no one, not even his family.

Tillman was a former NFL player who left professional sports to enlist in the Army after 9/11. Wood was an offensive lineman for the Badgers who found himself filled with guilt for going to college and playing football while others were on the front lines.

In the four years following Wood’s graduation, he served tours in Iraq, where his unit did combat and ran counterinsurgency missions out of Camp Fallujah, and in Afghanistan, where he deployed after graduating from sniper school at the top of his class. He left the Marines as a decorated veteran and returned home to face another big decision: what’s next?

“I was a little apprehensive about taking off the uniform,” Wood says. “It was really that feeling that I was going to never do anything again in my life that was going to be so purposeful.” When a massive earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, Wood made his choice: instead of sitting back and watching the devastation on television, he would go there to contribute the skills he learned in the military. Instead of going back to school to pursue an MBA as he had planned, he would serve. That moment was the origin of Team Rubicon, an organization that mobilizes volunteers to help in the hours, days, and weeks following earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, and other natural disasters.

Wood cofounded the group with William McNulty, a fellow Marine who signed on for the Haiti effort just minutes after Wood wrote a Facebook post looking for volunteers. The group has since deployed teams across the United States and around the world — from Burma to Chile to Pakistan. Team Rubicon now has twenty-seven thousand volunteers, most of them veterans, who help bring order to chaos following disasters and bridge the gap until conventional aid organizations can respond.

But Team Rubicon is also restoring something that veterans often lose when they take off their uniforms: it’s giving them a new mission. McNulty didn’t know Wood when the two connected ahead of their trip to Haiti, but he knew enough: Wood was a Marine. Once they met, he witnessed firsthand what he calls the six-foot-six Wood’s “command presence” — the effect of his natural charisma and gift for public speaking off the cuff.

“I’ve seen it where people are like, ‘You [want me to run] off a cliff? Okay, how fast do you want me to run?’ ” McNulty says.

Wood and McNulty are the frontmen for Team Rubicon, a sometimes uncomfortable position for people so strongly rooted in the concept of teamwork. As the organization’s profile has grown, the two are frequently asked about issues facing men and women after they leave the military. It’s not a role Wood says he feels qualified to take on as a “simple Marine sergeant,” but he is willing to share his perspective when asked how his group can help veterans make the transition from military service to civilian life.

“Some veterans are struggling. Why are they struggling? We believe it’s because they lack purpose and community in their life,” Wood says. “Other people might say it’s because of this chemical imbalance … Okay, that might be. You try giving him a pill; we’re going to try giving him a mission. At the end of the day, we’ll see which one works better.”

Wood makes it clear that Team Rubicon’s primary mission is providing aid following disasters, but that veterans are its fuel. They come from different generations and different wars and from all walks of life. Little outreach is needed: veterans find the organization mostly through word of mouth and social media. David Dodds joined the team in 2012 after reading a friend’s social media post. He knows veterans who have struggled with their return to civilian life. “They feel kind of useless,” says Dodds, a defense contractor and Army veteran who served two tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He volunteered on a number of projects for Team Rubicon and now serves as the group’s operations coordinator in Virginia.

For Dodds, the involvement is personal: one of his friends took his own life in summer 2014. He also knows a veteran who considered suicide, but found a new purpose through Team Rubicon. “Stopping that from happening is huge,” he says. During its inaugural mission in Haiti, the small team of volunteers sat in a circle and drank Dominican beer after a long day providing medical aid at a displaced persons camp. Brother Jim Boynton, a Jesuit schoolteacher working with the volunteers, encouraged them to talk about what they had seen and done during the hours before. Wood had cleaned dirt, gravel, and pus from an infected wound in the leg of a young boy as he screamed in pain. Other team members had performed amputations and one had delivered a baby.

One by one, team members — including Wood — shared their experiences. “There was this boy today …” he began. These kinds of conversations take place around a fire or in the church basements or school gymnasiums where volunteers gather at the end of each grueling day. Images of devastation can bring back wartime memories, but the shared physical labor breaks down barriers. “They feel comfort and trust for the first time in a while,” Wood says. “You’ll see people who will start talking about their experiences either in the military or postmilitary, and they’ll end their story with, ‘That’s the first time I’ve ever told anyone out loud.’ ”

Civilians are often afraid to ask veterans about their experiences overseas, worried about offending them or bringing up bad memories, even though most veterans look back on their service as a great time in their lives, Wood says.

“Somewhere along the line, we lost this community focus, [this] community-centric approach to veteran reintegration,” he says. “I don’t know why that is.”

But victims of natural disasters quickly learn the value of welcoming veterans back into their communities, Wood says. “These homeowners say, ‘Wow, I’m so impressed, I feel like this is the best America has to offer, and I never would have known it,’ ” he says. Donna Burdett was an EMT and nurse by age seventeen, joined the Navy as soon as she was old enough, and hoped to become a doctor. An explosion during the first Gulf War left her with a brain injury, and her dream disappeared. After multiple surgeries and procedures, she retired from the Navy. “I felt thrown away by the world,” she wrote in a blog post earlier this year.

After spotting an online ad for Team Rubicon, she signed up to deploy following an ice storm in Georgia in February 2014, but feared her injuries would ultimately lead to rejection. Then the phone rang. “We would like you to come help us,” a volunteer coordinator said. She has since signed on for other team missions, and says that participating is like being in the Navy again.

“I’m no longer broken,” she wrote.

Sharing stories is part of the team’s culture. Wood urges volunteers to talk to the public and the media about themselves and how they came to be part of the group. “I started as just a pipsqueak freshman at the University of Wisconsin. Somehow I ended up in Iraq and Afghanistan. Somehow I ended up in Haiti,” he says. “But that’s the unique story that brought me to Team Rubicon, and every- body else has one of those.”

Progress was often elusive on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, says McNulty, who worked in intelligence. Now as some veterans watch ISIS and other destabilizing forces surge in those regions, they wonder whether the sacrifices were worth it. “[But] when you’re clearing the mud out of someone’s basement after a flood just struck, or you’re bandaging someone after they were injured because of the high winds of a typhoon, you can see the fruits of your labor,” he says.

Fewer than thirty-six hours after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal in April, killing thousands and leaving survivors in remote villages without aid or medical care, Team Rubicon launched Operation Tenzing. A small reconnaissance team traveled to Kathmandu and partnered with a startup U.S. drone company to obtain aerial images that would help assess damage and update maps of the disaster zone. That quick and thorough groundwork — core to the experience of veterans — allowed Team Rubicon to pinpoint areas with the greatest need for help and deploy teams to dispense medical aid, food, and water. In a video taken during that first mission in Haiti, Clay Hunt rides through the streets of Port-au-Prince in the back of a beat-up pickup truck, surveying the devastation. “I’m here because I’m needed here,” he says.

Hunt and Wood were like brothers after serving together in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hunt was deeply affected by the loss of Marines in their unit on both deployments, and he struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder. A year after the Haiti mission, Hunt took his own life. He was twenty-eight years old. An estimated twenty-two veterans do the same thing each day, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

A year after Hunt’s suicide, Wood told 60 Minutes that he wonders almost every day why it happened. He sometimes blames himself. Last February, Wood stood in the East Room of the White House as President Barack Obama signed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, intended to reduce military and veteran suicides and improve access to quality mental health care.

“Clay has taken on this almost mythical status within Team Rubicon,” Wood says during our interview. “When Clay passed, we had three hundred, four hundred, maybe five hundred volunteers in the organization, and only thirty of them had ever met Clay. And so now we have twenty-seven thousand members — and still only thirty of them have ever met Clay. At the end of the day, what’s powerful about Clay is that he was just a guy.”

Hunt’s legacy serves as a reminder that although disaster relief is Team Rubicon’s business, veterans are its passion. In 2014, it launched the Clay Hunt Fellows Program, which provides leadership training for a small group of veteran volunteers. Each fellow receives a $12,000 stipend and must undertake a capstone project that improves the organization. The goal is to develop leaders within the team, as well as help its veteran volunteers compete and thrive in the civilian job market.

Wood says it is an opportunity Hunt would have liked. Team Rubicon had already proved its worth to veterans. Now it needed to show the American public what it could do. When Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast in fall 2012, the group took a chance to solidify its reputation among disaster-response experts. Money was tight, but team leaders made the decision to put “all our financial chips on the table,” Wood says.

More than 350 Team Rubicon volunteers from across the country descended on New York and New Jersey and led ten-thousand-plus volunteers who helped in every possible way — pumping sand out of homes, clearing dangerous debris, and patching roofs.

“It was a make-or-break moment for us,” Wood says. “Everybody in the U.S. — from every news agency to every federal agency — was looking at that fifty-square-mile area. And we had an opportunity to show these people who hadn’t paid attention to us for two and a half years what we were doing and what we were capable of.”

The gamble paid off. Goldman Sachs donated $250,000 to Team Rubicon for Hurricane Sandy operations. Other corporate sponsors followed. Wood was approached about writing a book on leadership. (The result was Take Command: Lessons in Leadership: How to Be a First Responder in Business, published in 2014.) Most important, the effort, dubbed Operation Greased Lightning, solidified the group’s credibility in disaster response.

“[The Federal Emergency Management Agency] came out and was blown away by what we were doing in the far Rockaways,” Wood says. This year, McNulty is leading the launch of Team Rubicon Global, building a presence in Australia, Canada, Norway, and the United Kingdom — all key U.S. allies in Iraq and Afghanistan. A five-year plan calls for twelve teams around the world, each offering veterans the same opportunity to serve as their American counterparts and the ability to respond more quickly to disasters.

But the work on the home front is far from finished. Team Rubicon is hiring ten regional administrators, intending to have staffing at the state level in ten to fifteen years. “Ultimately, the analogy I’ve begun using is that we see Team Rubicon over the next five years becoming, in essence, a national volunteer fire department,” Wood says. “Obviously we don’t fight fires.”

Wood doesn’t get out into the field as much as he did in the early days, but he makes sure to do so at least once a year to challenge his assumptions about how the organization is evolving and to reconnect with its core mission. “At the end of the day, I need to go out there and swing a sledgehammer and help people as much as anybody else,” he says. But now, as chief executive officer, he devotes significant time to giving speeches and fundraising — and numbers play a far more critical role in his life than he could have predicted during his student days.

“People who want to be entrepreneurs ask me that question all the time: ‘What’s the most important class?’ ” he says. His response? “Basic accounting principles.”

In his book, Wood describes the importance of being surrounded by people who buy into a shared vision. Team Rubicon wants “people who are foolish enough to think they can change the world — and smart enough to have a chance,” he says during our interview. “We’ve been saying that we can build an organization that’ll disrupt industries and be around for the next 150 years. We’re not just saying it to hear ourselves say it. We’re saying it because, goddamn, that’s what we’re going to do.”

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Very Superstitious http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/very-superstitious/ http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/very-superstitious/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 18:12:33 +0000 http://test.onwisconsin.wisc.edu/?p=15064 As sports fans, we’re drawn to games partly because of their unpredictability. At kickoff, tipoff, or when the puck drops, there’s no telling what will happen. Admit it, Badger fans: when Wisconsin played Kentucky in the Final Four, how many of you flat-out knew — not just hoped — that the Badgers would emerge victorious? That’s why we trekked to Indianapolis, congregated in bars, paced in our family rooms, and watched on the Internet from all over the globe on that Saturday night last April.

Student-athletes face the same unpredictability. But many know, from practice and preparation, that there’s comfort in repetition and predictability in routine. Some do it through food, others by the way they dress, the music they listen to, or how they prepare. Ritual and superstition offer a sense of control. And as long as the student-athletes are winning, those routines are hard to surrender.

Claudia Reardon ’01, MD’06, a UW assistant professor of psychiatry, says that ritualized superstition is prevalent among athletes for just these reasons.

“There is so much in sports that is beyond the athletes’ control. You can’t control what your opponent does, you can’t control the weather, and you can’t fully control the way you slept the night before,” says Reardon, who has treated UW and pro athletes for a variety of psychiatric issues. “But the ritual — that you can control.”

Reardon says the overwhelming majority of these superstitions are harmless and even helpful, but she warns that they have the potential to evolve into obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

“Athletes need to be aware of the trajectory of their rituals,” she says. “Do you become more and more rigid about the rituals? Maybe it starts with a ritual before the game, but then it takes up a whole day before the game or the whole week before.”

While some may find the rituals odd, they often say a lot about an athlete’s drive, Reardon adds: “The kinds of temperament that make it likely that athletes would engage in superstitious ritual are the kinds of aspects of their personality that make them successful — being really attentive to detail, perfectionism, and being wedded to routine.”

Brittany Ammerman Brittany Ammerman

Back to Basics

Brittany Ammerman ’15 has tasted the power of a gluten-free chocolate brownie.

Before each weekend series, the forward on the women’s hockey team would whip up the same dinner — gluten-free pasta with pesto and chicken, topped off with a dessert of gluten-free brownies. And before every series, she would cut a brand new hockey stick to the perfect size. Dressing before a game, Ammerman made sure to put on her left skate first.


“I like to have a routine,” she says. “It keeps you focused and I think it does help.”

Where’s the proof? Last January, the Badgers were mired in a three-game winless streak, and Ammerman hadn’t scored in eight games when she decided to ditch her routine to shake things up before a home series against Bemidji State University. On Friday night, the UW lost 2–1 as Ammerman went scoreless again.

Before that Saturday’s game, she reversed course and fired up all of her long-held rituals. The brownies and all the rest were back. Call it coincidence or call it karma, but when she hit the ice, there was a breakthrough. Ammerman drilled a short shot past the Bemidji State goalie forty-six seconds into overtime to win the game. Her jubilant teammates mobbed her on the ice.

“I was like, ‘All right — back to pasta and brownies!’ ” she says.

Nigel Hayes Nigel Hayes

Predictably Spontaneous

Some student-athletes take pains to avoid developing a routine or slipping into a reliance on superstition. Badger basketball player Nigel Hayes x’17 discovered that superstition can become a burden, so he goes out of his way to be unpredictable. “The thing with superstitions is, if you miss doing it, you’re thinking, ‘Oh, boy, this could be a bad day.’ Then it can grow into something terrible,” he says.

As a wide receiver at Whitmer High School in Toledo, Ohio, Hayes’s superstitious rituals ballooned. Doing warm-up stretches, he would count to ten, but one day he counted to seven by mistake, and then felt like he had to continue that practice for the rest of the season. During Tuesday’s practice, he had to catch a pass in the corner of the end zone. On Thursdays, he stayed after practice to run routes. “You don’t want to do that to yourself,” says Hayes. “Now, I try not to get into a routine. I try to be as un-routine as possible.”

Zak Showalter Zak Showalter

Change It Up

Like his teammate Nigel Hayes, basketball guard Zak Showalter x’17 also pooh-poohs superstition. “If I get into a ritual and miss it one time,” he says, “I won’t be able to get it out of my head. I try to change my routine for every game.”

Jacki Gulczynski Jacki Gulczynski

Keeping Memories Close

WristbandWomen’s basketball player Jacki Gulczynski x’16’s pregame ritual is always tinged with the sadness of a stinging personal loss.

“I eat, shower, relax. I like to watch TV and get my mind off of everything,” she says. “Then, I have to perfectly place my wristband on my left wrist. On the inside, I have my brother’s initials written out, because my brother Lenny was killed in Iraq.”

Vince Biegel Vince Biegel

Cookie Monster

Ice cream in a dishThe R&B beats of Alicia Keys and reggae are often the backdrop for outside linebacker Vince Biegel x’16 as he runs through his game-day preparation. The hard-hitting Biegel avoids the aggressive rhythms that you might expect to be part of his routine. “I’ve got a fiery personality to begin with, and if you pour fire on fire, you’ll have a big storm there,” says Biegel, who also brings diet into the picture, eating pasta with shrimp or chicken the night before a game and topping it off with a bedtime snack of a cookie and ice cream.

Cayla McMorris and Michala Johnson McMorris Michala Johnson

Eating to Win

Folding chairThese Badger women’s basketball teammates build rituals around food. McMorris x’18 goes for chicken Alfredo before games, a habit that was born at a restaurant in her hometown of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. And Johnson ’14, x’16 stashes food — such as apples, bananas, and protein bars — under her locker room chair, so she can power up during halftime.

Chase Drake Chase Drake

Plugged In

Video controllerFor Chase Drake ’15, a defenseman and team captain on the 2014 Badger hockey team, a video game was at the heart of his pregame routine.

“I would say that I’m pretty superstitious,” Drake says. “I like to eat at Panera [Bread] before the game, then come back to the Kohl Center and play eighteen holes of Tiger Woods golf on the Xbox with [my teammate] Grant Besse x’17. Then I take an hour-long nap and get up at the same time. Then I put on my gear from left to right.”

Duje Dukan Duje Dukan

The Road Taken

Vespa mopedMen’s basketball player Duje Dukan ’14, x’16 found comfort on his way to home games. Dukan, who finished out his Badger basketball career in 2015, says he made it a point to get to the Kohl Center two hours before each game to get taped and listen to music. Riding his scooter to the arena, he never varied his route. “It works, so I do it,” Dukan says.

Drew Meyer Drew Meyer

Good Tunes

HeadphonesRepetition is reflected in Drew Meyer x’16’s game-day playlist. On the bus ride to the stadium, the Badger football punter reads Bible passages while listening to hip-hop. When the team reaches the stadium, he switches to country music. In the locker room, Meyer shifts gears again, to classical music. “I just want to calm myself, because what I do is more like what a golfer does. I don’t need to be breathing fire,” Meyer says.

Sojourn Shelton Sojourn Shelton

Go with What You Know

CleatsIf clothes make the man, then cleats make the defender, believes Sojourn Shelton x’17, a cornerback on the Badger football team. Halfway through the 2014 season, Shelton got a new jolt of confidence from an old pair of shoes.

“I was struggling a little early last year,” Shelton says. “I had these cleats that I wore in my freshman year, and once I started playing in those cleats, I was playing a lot better. I’m probably going to have to stay with those cleats.”

Taylor Morey Taylor Morey

That’s a Wrap

For UW volleyball player Taylor Morey x’16, injuries are a bugaboo. When people mention injuries, Morey knocks on wood. During the Badgers’ run in the 2013 NCAA volleyball tournament, which took them to the championship match, Morey scraped her knee early in the tournament and had it wrapped by the team trainer. But even after Morey’s knee healed, she continued having it wrapped throughout the tournament.

“I just couldn’t break the juju,” she says.

Haleigh Nelson Haleigh Nelson

Put a Bow On it

Taylor Morey and Haleigh Nelson taking a selfieHaleigh Nelson x’17 shares a ritual with volleyball teammate Taylor Morey. Without fail, they snap a cell-phone selfie together. Serious faces, funny faces, and goofy captions are all part of the mix. When Nelson had a chance to move her locker, Morey talked her out of it, figuring, why mess with the mojo?

Nelson has her own set of pregame rituals. She showers, blow-dries her hair, and has a teammate braid it. Then, she puts a bow in it.

“I don’t live and die by superstition, but I would never change my number,” Nelson adds. “It’s the luckiest number, isn’t it?”

Nelson, of course, wears number 13.

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Long May They Run http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/long-may-they-run/ http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/long-may-they-run/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 17:52:44 +0000 http://test.onwisconsin.wisc.edu/?p=15065 It started more as a joke among four friends. “We should make a record together,” one of the members of The Emperors of Wyoming suggested offhandedly one day, never imagining they could become a fully functioning band. But it turns out the joke was on them.

Despite moving to different parts of the country, longtime friends Phil Davis ’76, MA’81, Butch Vig ’80, and brothers Pete ’76 and Frank Anderson hatched an unconventional plan to create music. They used more than forty years of friendship — including playing in several well-known Madison groups during the seventies and eighties — to craft a new band and eventually produce an album via email.

This is no amateur endeavor. Vig, who co-founded Madison’s Smart Studios, is a drummer for the band Garbage and produced records for them, Green Day, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, and many others. He also had his own popular Madison band, Spooner. Davis and the Andersons, members of the local group Buzz Gunderson, are also experienced veterans of the Madison music scene, and Vig and Davis were in Fire Town, which recorded two albums for Atlantic Records in the late ’80s. The four named their band The Emperors of Wyoming in homage to the similarly titled Neil Young song, although none of them live in Wyoming. Davis lives in Madison, Vig and Pete Anderson live in California, and Frank Anderson resides in Appleton, Wisconsin. They began work in 2009, first by recording their parts in their own studios, and then emailing each other the segments and slowly piecing together the songs. After a couple years of gradually putting together the record and then mixing it at Wonder Wonder Sound studio in Milwaukee, the album came out on European-based label Proper Records. In 2014, it was released in the United States by Liaison Music.

Davis says that sending audio files via email was a quicker, more efficient way of recording than mailing tapes back and forth.

“On tapes, the sound would shift and change, but with these digital files, they’re exactly how they were when I sent them to Butch or when he sent us rhythm tracks,” says Davis. “And I could send it out within a half hour so everyone could listen to it and react to it.” The group also enjoyed putting songs together at a leisurely pace when they had a spare moment. “It was like a slow-motion studio,” says Pete Anderson. “Someone could come up with an idea for the song the next morning.”

“That was what Emperors was all about, was seeing if we could do it and how it would work,” Davis says. “We could experiment with sounds and see how it would all come together. … It gave us more opportunity to try things than if we were in the same room together recording. We had no time constraints, no record-industry people offering their advice, and no real budgetary pressure.”

On the album, the band flexes its country-rock influences, many of which they heard in their younger days in Madison.

“I liked the idea of writing songs in an alt-country vein and bringing the influences that all four of us grew up with, like Johnny Cash and Neil Young and The Band and Tom Petty,” says Vig. “Americana is the best way to describe those artists.” The album came out to critical acclaim and was hailed by David Gerard on examiner.com as one of the ten albums in 2014 that mattered. The band received offers to perform on David Letterman and to play in Europe, but they didn’t want to rush into it until they felt their live show was ready. They rehearsed in a barn outside Arlington, Wisconsin, that overlooks a gigantic cornfield. “You know you’re in Wisconsin when you’re rehearsing in a barn,” Vig says.

When they did perform together at Madison’s High Noon Saloon and Appleton’s Mile of Music in summer 2014, things quickly fell into place.

“It was easy. It was just like another gig,” says Frank Anderson.

“The hardest thing is to create that excitement when you’re playing by yourself in your own studio, so it was a real joy to play with the guys again,” Pete Anderson adds.

Born Badgers

Davis and the Andersons first met in the mid-seventies as undergraduates and soon found common ground playing in bands. (Davis calls Frank Anderson an honorary alum, since he used to sneak into random classes that interested him. “I think I attended classes more than some students who were enrolled,” Anderson says.)

“There’s something about coming from Wisconsin and going to school here,” says Davis. “We were born Badgers and remain Badgers, and when we got back together, it seemed very natural. And it certainly wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t all come to the university.”

“Playing music was a great way to make money back then when you were a student,” says Pete Anderson. “It sure beat a part-time job. It was a lot better than minimum wage.”

The three friends eventually went on to create the popular Madison band Buzz Gunderson and then ended up moving to California. Davis later returned to attend graduate school in journalism at the UW, where he met Vig, who was finishing his undergraduate degree. They started playing in bands, including Fire Town, went on tour, and got airplay on MTV with three music videos.

  But for a time, the four members of The Emperors of Wyoming went their separate ways. Vig pursued a career as a producer in Los Angeles. Pete Anderson started working in the wine industry in northern California. And Frank Anderson put down roots in Appleton, making films ranging from commercials to animation.

The four never envisioned how technology would make it possible for them to once again be a band. “There’s no way we had any idea when we were going to college that the world would change so fast that we would be making our records thirty years later on home computers,” Davis says.

These days the band is working on new material, trying to align schedules to allow for in-person recording sessions, and hoping to play more shows.

“What we realized was that we have a really good live band,” Davis says.

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Walk-Ons: Despite the Odds http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/walk-ons-despite-the-odds/ http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/walk-ons-despite-the-odds/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 17:11:01 +0000 http://test.onwisconsin.wisc.edu/?p=15101 No matter our pursuits in life, we’re all told at one time or another that we don’t measure up. That’s what walk-on football players face. Standout athletes from childhood through high school, these young men are suddenly confronted with no longer being good enough to earn a football scholarship to a major school — or perhaps to any school at all.

And yet many of them go on to beat the odds after getting an opportunity as a walk-on — a chance, initially without a scholarship, to play for the Badgers.

“These are the kids, for the most part, they stick with us — they’re here for the right reasons,” says UW Athletic Director Barry Alvarez, who made the walk-ons program a key part of his success as the Badgers’ football coach. “They love football, they’re loyal to the university, and they end up being leaders.”

Here’s a look at five Wisconsin walk-ons who persevered, achieving their goals with the Badgers and the National Football League — and beyond.

Bradie Ewing

Bradie Ewing saw playing time during his freshman year at the UW, a relatively rare achievement for a walk-on — but not necessarily a surprise.

“The things that got me noticed at Wisconsin are things that I’ve done my whole life. When they asked you to run past the line, I ran past the line. I studied more than anybody. Everything they asked for, I did,” he says.

“I think some of the [scholarship players] just drift,” he adds. “Maybe they thought they had made it. I guess in my mind, you’ve never made it. There’s always the next goal.”

By the time he was a senior, Ewing knew NFL teams were watching him. Even though he wasn’t a star player — he started only eleven games in four years — he believed he could play at the highest level.

“A lot of walk-ons — just where they came from, the people they are, the work ethic, kind of that chip on their shoulder — it helps them have success at the college level, but it helps at the NFL level, too,” he says. “[They have] a lot of those intangibles that a lot of people have, but some take for granted.”

Mark Tauscher

Mark Tauscher excelled in football in a quintessentially Wisconsin sort of way: quietly setting goals, steadily making progress — and then seizing a big opportunity.

“For me, it always just comes down to: believe in what you’re doing and try to get an understanding of how can you take steps to get where you want to go. It doesn’t have to be in one bound,” says Tauscher, who was a reserve player for three years for the Badgers before becoming a starter.

“Try to figure out, is this something that you really want to do? And if it’s something you really want to do, are you willing to put in the effort and the work to do it?” he says.

Of the 141 walk-ons who have been letter winners at the UW since Alvarez started as head football coach, 16 have played in the NFL. Tauscher played there longer than any of them — eleven years — all with the Green Bay Packers. His was “one of the great football stories and careers of anyone to come out of the state of Wisconsin,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said.

Yet Tauscher was decidedly unheralded when he arrived at the UW in 1995. After being noticed when his high school basketball team (yes, basketball) played in the state tournament in Madison, he was invited to walk on as an offensive lineman. Tauscher knew he would need perseverance.

“I always tried to look at things as realistically as I could and understanding that, I know that there’s a long road ahead of me here,” he recalls thinking. “But let’s just set some basic goals.”

The first was to survive: to hold his own in one-on-one drills, and to try to earn some practice time with the second-stringers.

“In the beginning, I was completely intimidated,” Tauscher admits. “You’re going against very good defensive linemen on a daily basis, and you’re trying not to get your butt whipped.”

In his second year, Tauscher gradually earned some playing time. But it was still an uphill climb, on a steep grade, playing behind two tackles (Chris McIntosh and Aaron Gibson) who ended up in the NFL. After a year as a redshirt, then three years as a reserve, Tauscher decided that his fourth year would be his final season with the Badgers, even though he still had a year of eligibility remaining. He started considering a transfer.

But, while watching the annual spring game, he had an unexpected reaction. “I just went and watched the game — and it made me sick to watch,” he recalls. “I knew that I wanted to be back out there. I had put in a lot of time and effort, and I think that’s where the sick feeling came from. … I just felt like [if I transferred, it] was going to be a missed opportunity for me.”

So Tauscher returned for a fifth year. Finally a starter, he helped lead the Badgers to a second consecutive Rose Bowl victory. He went on to win a Super Bowl ring with the Packers following the 2010 season.

Being overlooked, or even doubted, can have advantages.

“I think everybody has different motivations,” Tauscher says. “And for me, I think it’s always you’re trying to prove you belong — you always try to prove you can do it.”

J.J. Watt

One of J.J. Watt’s summer jobs while at UW–Madison was painting a railing that circles the upper deck of Camp Randall Stadium. It offered moments to daydream about playing on the field.

Watt, of course, would become a star defensive lineman for the Badgers. But that came only after he had been told he wasn’t big-time college football material — and after giving up a football scholarship after one year at Central Michigan University without a guarantee of what might lie ahead.

At Central, playing tight end, Watt caught only eight passes during his freshman season in 2007. Deciding that he’d never be a featured player for the Chippewas, he took a risk by giving up the scholarship, transferring to Wisconsin, and trying to make the team as a walk-on.

“I was told, ‘You’re not big enough, you’re not fast enough [to play at Wisconsin],’ ” he recalls. “When people who don’t believe in you say you can’t make it, that’s just more motivation.”

Watt also was spurred on by having promised his parents he would earn a scholarship at the UW. “At that time, failure was not an option. I was gambling on myself. There was just no option but to make it work,” he says. “There was a belief in myself to start with. And I put in the work. When you put in the work, you start to believe in yourself even more.”

By 2010, his third year as a Badger, Watt was a second-team All-American and was leaving school a year early. He was the eleventh overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft. He has already been named the league’s most valuable defensive player twice, in 2012 and 2014, and in July, he was named the top player by NFL Network, making him the first defensive player to earn that honor.

Wisconsin walk-ons who succeed use a chip on their shoulders to motivate them to greater heights, Watt says. “You’re happy to be on the team, but you have to do that much more to earn your place. It gives you an edge. You know you have to go above and beyond what the other scholarship players have to do,” he says.

“When you have to go through difficult times, it makes the victory that much sweeter.”

Chris Maragos

After starting eight games as a redshirt freshman walk-on at Western Michigan University, Chris Maragos believed he had earned a scholarship for the next season, but it didn’t come through.

“I was pretty down. I was kind of looking for anything,” he says. “I felt like I was doing all the right things on the field and off the field to get the opportunities, and it just wasn’t happening.”

Encouraged by his brother Troy, who was then one of the Bucky Badger mascots, Maragos decided to walk on at Wisconsin, arriving in 2007. He made his mark before ever being eligible to play in a game. On the kickoff team during one of his first practices, Maragos sped downfield past his teammates and tackled the returner inside the ten-yard line. “I can remember the coaches saying, ‘Who is that guy?’ They knew I couldn’t play that year, but I was giving it my all.”

Maragos, who switched from wide receiver to defensive back after coming to Wisconsin, believes he made team captain because of how he carried himself when he first transferred. “I was listening to what [my teammates] had to say, and every day at practice I was just giving it my all, no matter what the drill was. Just trying to earn the guys’ respect for who I was as a person. I really believe that people will respect your character more than they will respect your accomplishments,” he says.

“You know that you need to not cut corners in anything you do. You don’t get that many opportunities in life. You have to do the things in the right way, and you have to fight for them,” he adds. “When you get pushed, that’s when you really grow.”

Donnel Thompson

Donnel Thompson preaches the potential of teaming up unbridled enthusiasm with a solid work ethic.

“I think the one thing we all can control is attitude,” the former Badger linebacker says. “It gives you a great chance at being successful. And that’s contagious. When people see that you enjoy things and that you’re positive, they want to be around you, they want to involve you in things. And in a lot of cases, your results are going to reflect that attitude.”

Thompson says the doggedness he developed as a walk-on helped him years later, while working at Direct Supply, Inc. in Milwaukee. He lost his biggest customer — and feared his boss doubted that he could handle major accounts.

“I was so determined to prove him wrong and to prove that customer wrong — the next year, all of my customers were over 20 percent [growth in sales]. I had one of the best years in national accounts history,” Thompson recalls. “Because I was hell-bent on proving them wrong. I understand I probably didn’t do the right thing with this customer. I’m going to learn from that. But I’m going to find ways to add value to these other seventeen customers and to prove that I am the right fit.”

Thompson is now a vice president at the company.

“Don’t give up. Don’t let people tell you no,” he says. “You’re going to face challenges; you’re going to face adversity. That’s all right.”

Walk-Ons in the NFL

Jared Abbrederis
Michael Bennett
Erik Bickerstaff
Chad Cascadden
Jason Doering
Bradie Ewing
Paul Hubbard
Matt Katula
Jim Leonhard
Chris Maragos
Joe Panos
Mike Schneck
Mark Tauscher
Donnel Thompson
Rick Wagner
J.J. Watt

Source: UW Athletic Department

The UW tracks walk-ons only since Barry Alvarez took over as coach in 1990.

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Collegiate Recovery 101 http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/collegiate-recovery-101/ http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/collegiate-recovery-101/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 20:36:39 +0000 http://test.onwisconsin.wisc.edu/?p=14985 Recovery graphic

Illustration: Chris Gash

By the time incoming freshman Vanessa dellaBitta ’14 set foot on campus in 2006, she was already battling a drug and alcohol addiction. What’s worse, the vibrant, scholarly Massachusetts native suffered in secret, privately juggling the normal growing pains of college with the all-consuming effort to get and stay sober.

“I really struggled through my freshman year, not knowing that there were other people like me. I felt very, very alone,” says dellaBitta, who ended up dropping out at the start of her sophomore year so she could address her problem. For the next several years, she cycled in and out of both school and sobriety; for her, the two worlds seemed nearly impossible to reconcile. “Over those five years, I’d take a couple classes and was out of school again,” she says. “It felt like this wasn’t a problem that other people had. It did sort of feel like — not immoral, but it felt like it centered in me. Like, I just can’t get myself together, essentially. I just can’t be responsible.”

Today dellaBitta knows she’s not inherently broken, and that she’s far from alone. Almost a quarter of college students nationwide meet the medical criteria for substance abuse or dependence, yet 37 percent of them fear seeking help because of social stigma, according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA). Students like dellaBitta aren’t the only ones who lose out; the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention says 40 percent of student-attrition cases involve substance abuse, resulting in $1.2 million to $4.3 million in lost tuition each year.

“The money we lose is pretty staggering, not only as an institution when students leave because of addiction, but we also lose out on gaining students when we don’t have something here to support them,” says University Housing’s Laura Strimpel, who today serves as co-adviser for a newly registered student organization called Live Free — Student Wellness and Recovery. Although not limited to those facing substance-use disorder, Live Free was founded by dellaBitta, Caroline Miller ’04, and a handful of other students in long-term recovery who were seeking a safe, supportive environment on campus.

Since its formation in 2013, Live Free has become part of a larger effort to create locally what’s known nationally as a collegiate-recovery community, a movement now pollinating 139 schools across the country. In such communities, campuses have designated residence halls, centralized meeting spaces, and paid staff support to model “visible” recovery from drugs and alcohol.

UW-Madison isn’t there yet, but it could be.

“When we think about the challenges around substance use, we know that to be successful in recovery, people need social support, they need emotional support, and they need the ability to flourish vocationally and intellectually,” says Sarah Van Orman, executive director of University Health Services. “University environments are very challenging places for people to be in recovery without support, and that’s really the niche that the collegiate-recovery community fills.”

Van Orman has adopted that perspective because recovery isn’t the sort of thing where you can take a pill, or a class, or attend a few meetings and you’re cured. It requires a complete lifestyle change within a supportive environment. College is hard enough; when your peers seem to be partying as hard as they’re studying, sobriety can feel lonely at best and impossible at worst. Although the issue affects students nationwide, UW-Madison’s reputation for binge drinking alone can serve as an insurmountable deterrent for those seeking recovery. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

“Many students who want to come to UW-Madison, who are in recovery, that’s terrifying for them,” says Krystle Gutting, assistant director of Connections Counseling, a privately owned certified drug-and-alcohol treatment provider. UW–Madison contracts with the company to provide its substance-use screening initiatives, such as BASICS (Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students) and Choices About Alcohol.

DellaBitta, like most students, was referred to Connections when she initially sought help through University Health Services, which also provides substance-use treatment of its own. “I think having a collegiate-recovery presence here is going to change Madison’s reputation,” Gutting says. “I think it is absolutely amazing and very exciting.”

In many ways, although nobody knew it at the time, Madison’s collegiate-recovery movement began back in 2005. Just a few months before dellaBitta arrived on campus, another eighteen-year-old recovering addict, Aaron Meyer, was killed in a car accident. Before his tragic death, Meyer was rebuilding his life. He had completed treatment, was graduating from Horizon — Dane County’s only recovery high school — and regularly attended Connections Counseling. He felt excited to move out of his parents’ house and in with a group of guy friends who were also in recovery, but he never got that chance. After his death, with donations and community support, Aaron’s dad, Tom Meyer, his mom, Cathy, and a volunteer board opened Aaron’s House on East Gorham in 2007. The idea was to take your average-seeming, near-campus house and rent it to college-age men in recovery, four at a time, so they could live like everybody else.

“It’s not about honoring him,” Tom Meyer said at the time. “It’s to take an idea that he had and put it into practice so that other people can live their lives. Here, you live with peers who have all sat down individually, looked at themselves, and said, ‘This is what I need my recovery program to look like.’ ”

More than just abstaining from drugs and alcohol, Aaron’s House residents developed individualized lifestyle plans incorporating recovery meetings, work, and education. When the model both proved successful and seemed to fulfill a niche, three women — Live Free cofounder Caroline Miller, Heidi Hastings, and Elisabeth Lex JD’11 —created an affiliated women’s version, Connect House Sober Living for Women, which opened in August 2013.

Impressed by both efforts, Ginger Morgan, director of residential community at Apartments on Library Mall, lobbied successfully to create Next Step Recovery apartments, which opened to renters in August 2014. Meanwhile, Meyer had learned about the nationwide collegiate-recovery movement and began collaborating with Van Orman and others at UW–Madison, along with members of Live Free, who are now in the process of trying to raise funds. In 2014, Live Free secured a $10,000 grant from Transforming Youth Recovery, then known as the Stacie Mathewson Foundation, specifically to help create a collegiate-recovery community.

“There’s a huge need for it,” says Miller, adding that although Live Free currently only has about thirty members, Connections Counseling sees more than three hundred college students a year. “And that number is just increasing. I mean, they’re just seeing an incredible number of students,” she says. As more and more students in recovery are attempting to join mainstream college life, it makes sense that UW–Madison should expand its efforts to embrace them.

“Here at the university, we’ve been more focused on the upstream issue of prevention and intervention, and it was brought to our attention that this is really a big movement all across the country,” says Amy Margulies, a counselor at University Health Services who was involved with the Madison recovery movement’s early meetings. Today, Margulies serves as Live Free co-adviser with Housing’s Strimpel.

“Students who come back to school with adequate support tend to graduate with a higher GPA and with a sense of stability and clarity that really is remarkable, and [is] sometimes higher than [that of] the average student,” says Margulies. “But if they come back to school without that kind of support, it can be a devastating experience, a lonely experience, and should not be the kind of reward that we offer to people who we have asked to get their act together.”

The challenge organizers face is that, without a central building or even a consistent meeting space, many students who need a collegiate-recovery community probably can’t find it, if they even know about it. While it’s critically important that these efforts are student led, there’s only so much students can do — particularly students in recovery.

“That’s why trying to find a space on campus that we can call a home specifically for this group — it’s emblematic of a larger embrace from UW and from the campus community,” says dellaBitta. “To have something on campus would make me feel like, ‘Hey, I can be a well-rounded student. I can have a healthy college experience regardless of this other part of me.’ And I think being able to see that would just be amazing for students like me.” It’s not that substance abuse is a new problem facing UW-Madison administrators, and it’s not like they haven’t answered the call across a wide variety of avenues. All incoming students are required to go through AlcoholEdu, which addresses alcohol use, consumption, and impact. Student organizations are not allowed to serve alcohol at their events, underage students are not allowed to have alcohol in residence halls, and there are some rooms in residence halls that are completely substance free. The “Sub-Free” Community also holds sober events on campus.

Memorial Union and Union South staff are mandated to recognize and stop serving students of legal drinking age when they appear inebriated, and campus police ramp up their visibility the first forty-five days of each semester.

When students do get into trouble with alcohol or drugs, they attend Choices, BASICS, or CASICS (Cannabis Screening and Brief Intervention for College Students) — all contracted through Connections. Still, the collegiate-recovery movement has gotten the attention of many at UW-Madison, including Dean of Students Lori Berquam.

“I believe this movement is going to get bigger,” says Berquam. “Many campuses are funding houses or spaces for the recovery movement to meet and to gather in safe space and in dedicated space so that they can actually be in community with each other. Live Free has a very solid, regular meeting schedule, and they’ve really worked hard to get connected in the Pres House and St. Paul’s and also are connected in the community with other adults in recovery. So there’s both this student emphasis, but they’re also connected to the community.”

Historically, says Berquam, students in recovery likely lived at home so they could participate in recovery programs in their communities. In fact, that’s why organizers want to create that same sense of community on campus — because it’s so critical to successful recovery.

“The problem is that not many people are ‘out’ on the UW-Madison campus as being in recovery from addiction,” says Strimpel, who also served as program director of the Sub-Free Community in University Housing for five years. “There are many of us, but fear keeps us silent — fear about being ostracized from classmates, bullied by colleagues and supervisors, and even losing future opportunities. Live Free is about lifting a cloud of fear, ignorance, shame, and isolation. This is what we mean by visible sobriety.”

Strimpel points out that although the Sub-Free Community is a safe space for students who wish to abstain from alcohol and drugs for any number of different reasons, collegiate-recovery organizers want to build a program above and beyond simple abstinence. Strimpel says she “absolutely” fields calls from concerned parents and students about whether they can maintain sobriety while attending UW–Madison.

“I’ve given prospective students tours of the designated substance-free areas, and because we don’t have trained support staff funded and allocated, we don’t have built-in support groups embedded within that particular community for recovery specifically … they felt like they could get better support on other college campuses that already have structured collegiate-recovery communities. I don’t disagree,” she says. Her comments are bolstered by a recent survey conducted by the Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery that found that 43 percent of students in recovery said they enrolled in their university specifically because it had a collegiate-recovery community.

Ultimately, a collegiate-recovery community provides a supportive environment, educational opportunities, accountability, and inclusion. It normalizes sobriety and serves as a beacon for those still struggling, and not simply out of a sense of charitable kindness or duty. If nearly a quarter of qualified students are unable to meet the potential that got them into a place like UW-Madison in the first place, Madison’s loss is unquantifiable.

“These are some of our best students,” says Strimpel. “These students are some of the most mature that I’ve met, because they’ve had to do their own self-work. A lot of them have more self-knowledge than most of the other students I know — even some of the students who are about to graduate. And for them it’s about more than just survival — it’s about living fully and contributing.”

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Pulp Fixin’ http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/pulp-fixin/ http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/pulp-fixin/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 18:32:19 +0000 http://test.onwisconsin.wisc.edu/?p=14951 pulp wood

Photo courtesy Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center

John Ralph PhD’82 of the UW’s Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center recently co-authored a paper that will make paper easier to produce. In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Ralph and several colleagues announced that they had discovered a means for growing softwood trees that produce better pulp.

Pulp — the ground-up wood that is the basic material in paper — comes largely from trees. But it can be difficult to produce good pulp, due to the properties of wood. Softwood trees — pines, especially — make good pulp because their wood has long cellulose fibers. But they also produce a lot of lignin, a gluey substance that helps support cell walls but gets in the way of paper production. Much of the expense of paper manufacturing comes from removing lignin.

Hardwood trees have lignin, too, but its composition and structure are different, and it’s easier to remove. But hardwood cellulose fibers are much shorter, making for weaker paper.

Working with Armin Wagner of New Zealand’s Scion research institute, Ralph and his colleagues found a way to genetically modify softwood pines to produce lignin like hardwood trees. The trees seem to be just as strong as any other pines, but much easier to turn into pulp.

“There’s a great deal of interest in this in the industry,” Ralph says. “It will save a lot of energy, which will save a lot of cost.”

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In Protest of ROTC http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/in-protest-of-rotc/ http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/in-protest-of-rotc/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 18:20:55 +0000 http://test.onwisconsin.wisc.edu/?p=14946 ROTC protest

ROTC photo courtesy UW–Madison Archives #S00739

In April 1990, students began a nearly weeklong sit-in outside then-Chancellor Donna Shalala’s office, after she refused to include a disclaimer on school documents calling attention to the ROTC’s ban on gays and lesbians. Shalala and the board of regents supported ending the ban, but rather than kick ROTC off campus, chose to lobby Congress to change the policy. Many colleges reinstated ROTC programs after President Obama signed legislation that repealed the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in 2011.

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The Hole Story http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/the-hole-story/ http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/the-hole-story/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 18:14:52 +0000 http://test.onwisconsin.wisc.edu/?p=14940 manhole cover

Number of manholes on campus. Photo: Jeff Miller.

There’s a reason why UW-Madison is in the Big Ten: it’s a big university. Its central campus covers 936 acres and has 388 buildings (since the opening of Signe Skott Cooper Hall, home of the School of Nursing, in 2014). Servicing all of these buildings across all this area isn’t easy. The university uses 1,107 manholes to maintain twenty-five miles of sanitary sewers, and twenty-five miles more of storm sewers. That means the UW has one manhole for every 238 and a half feet of pipe.

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Homecoming Buttons http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/exhibition/homecoming-buttons/ http://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/exhibition/homecoming-buttons/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 21:45:16 +0000 http://test.onwisconsin.wisc.edu/?p=14933 Homecoming buttons

Photos by Andy Manis

In 2001, Pete Christianson ’71, JD’77 embarked on a mission to collect all of the UW’s Homecoming buttons since the event began in 1911. His collection was featured on the cover of the Spring 2010 Badger Insider in an article titled “Confessions of a Button Man.”

Thanks to contributions from friends, garage sales, and eBay, Christianson had buttons from every year except eighteen of them. He’s now closed the gap to just eight, although he’s not positive that buttons were issued during all of those missing years. Want to help him out? He’s missing 1943, 1944, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, and 1996.

Christianson’s favorite buttons are the first, 1911, which was the hardest to find and the most expensive on eBay; 1936, a gift from John Weaver, the first president of the UW System, for whom he used to work; 1935, which was the fiftieth anniversary of the marching band; and the 1967 button, which was from his freshman year in college.

He is looking forward to attending Homecoming 2015 on October 17 with his entire family, including his three children and their spouses or fiances (all UW alums) and his three grandchildren.

For those returning to Madison to collect their own 2015 buttons, Homecoming highlights include a pep rally and parade, a BADGER HUDDLE®, and the Wisconsin-Purdue game.

On October 15, Virgil Abloh ’03, who is the creative director for rap star Kanye West, will join Gabriel Stulman ’03, a New York City restaurateur, for a RED Talk (modeled after TED Talks). The topic is how to be successful both in and out of school, and alumni are welcome.

For game-watch parties, locate your chapter website at uwalumni.com/chapters.

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