Table of Contents Building the Bridge A collaboration between academics and research
Where Science Meets Service A service-learning course bridges academics and university outreach
25 Ways the University is reducing their carbon footprint
UW-Madison’s Volunteer Fair An event and tradition created to promotoe student philantrhopy
The Morgridge Center for Public Service Celebrating 15 years of service and dedication to the Madison community
Celebrating Founder’s Day The history of the Wisconsin Idea Offering a look at how and when the mission started along with where it is going
2012 | WIdea
A variety of events happening this May
WeConserve Reducing UW’s annual energy consumption and environmental footprint
Building the Bridge
A collaboration between academics and research The Office of Sustainability, or OS, embarks on a mission to encourage the University of Wisconsin-Madison to join many other universities efforts in combining education and research with science and physical practices. The idea of sustainability reaches many areas of campus through infrastructure developments, scientific and agricultural research while focusing on the UW and Madison community. Co-director Faramarz Vakili believes the Office should concentrate on some core issues including water, finance, energy, health, food and community. The OS hosted a launch in March of this year as a way to highlight the work that
2012 | WIdea
has been completed thus far, as well as where the advisory board, leadership and task force hopes to go in the future. The board members use the accomplishments and goals of the OS to show how its existence is crucial to the growth of campus as a higher-education insitution while merging sustainable research and academia. This collaboration will assist UW-Madison in reducing waste and energy through a financially efficient system that leads to longer lasting sustainable practices across campus. The idea behind the OS as a campus wide resource is to help improve conservation while reducing waste so both are incorporated into daily routines. Frank Kooistra is a UW-Madison faculty member who wears many hats. His involvement with the OS is with working to coordinate the operations side of the OS’s initiative. Working closely with the teaching and research coordinator, Sabrina Bradshaw, Kooistra is able to help implement the goals and aspirations of the OS.
There’s an important difference between being efficient and being sustainable. Kooistra, Bradshaw and roughly 25 other involved members offer an abundance of information including organizations, university departments and courses as well as scholarship opportunities that educate the UW-Madison community on how to get involved with the OS’s efforts. Co-director Vakili says there is an important difference between being efficient and being sustainable. Vakili and other don’t want to just reduce waste and lower the campus’ energy consumption but rather establish methods that can become ingrained into dayto-day routines and replicated in the future. This is done by combining classroom curriciulum with research-based practices in a variety of disciplines. One way the Office will reach its goals is through student and community involvement. The OS website offers information on how to get involved, ‘Op-
Research portunities’. This ‘Opportunities’ section lists the organizations the OS has made relationships with in order to spread awareness about sustainability through active engagement. A few examples include the Environmental Studies Club, ReThink Wisconsin and FH King Students for Sustainable Agriculture. These three have their own mission and vision for creating sustainable methods regarding the environment in general, food and waste reduction specifically as well as agriculture and farming practices.
These organizations and others similar are giving students the resources to make conservation and waste reduction a priority. Due to the OS’s support, the methods and sustainable practices developed in student organizations can be spread across campus and into the Madison community. Another component of the Office’s eagerness to involve undergraduate and
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Academics graduate students is through competitions and grants. Vakili believes the Office’s duty lies in facilitating solutions through creating and fostering partnerships while offering assistance with funding. The Wisconsin Idea Fellowship is one that the OS supports, and encourages the students selected to implement a sustainable method that can be applied here on campus or abroad. The OS offers their contribution to these projects in order to help students reach their goals and make a difference. Similar to the scholarship portion of involvement the OS has recently introduced two internship opportunities. The internships are designed to promote active participation from academic and research projects on campus. The Got Ideas? internship is unlike a traditional internship, however, encourages students to present an idea or work to establish the growth of an existing idea. The OS can offer their resources and guidance, which will compliment the student’s efforts. The application process for the Got Ideas? internship states how the OS will offer logistical, technical and financial support while
helping the student make connections on campus. Vakili closes his speech at the OS launch with a quote that incorporates the OS’s mission statement while giving direction for a more sustainable future. “We will know when we have reached our goal when we can look ourselves in the eye and know that we care, we think, we learn, we discover, we influence, we conserve” said Vakili.
Connect with the Office of Sustainability Got Ideas? Contact us Follow us Connect with us
LIVE THE WISCONSIN IDEA—CELEBRATE FOUNDERS’ DAY THIS MAY Founders' Day is celebrated each year on campus and around the world through local alumni chapters, as a commemoration of the first
CELEBRATE WITH US IN: Boston, Massachusetts
class held at UW-Madison on February 5, 1849.
At this year’s Founders’ Day celebrations, explore the meaning behind the Wisconsin Idea and discover how UW-Madison puts the Wisconsin Idea into action — improving lives beyond the classroom through teaching, research, outreach and public service.
As the Year of the Wisconsin Idea draws to a close this summer, you’re
invited to join the Wisconsin Alumni Association at one of the many
Founders’ day celebrations found across the country this May.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Tampa, Florida Washington, DC Sacramento, California Minneapolis, Minnesota Cincinnati, Ohio Indianapolis, Indiana East Peoria, Illinois & all across Wisconsin
FOR A FOUNDERS’ DAY CELEBRATION NEAR YOU, SEE THE BACK!
REACHING OUT, MOVING FORWARD. TUESDAY , MAY 1 — BROOKFIELD, WISCONSIN Waukesha County, Richard Davis WEDNESDAY, MAY 2 — SHEBOYGAN, WISCONSIN Aldo Leopold, Phenology and Climate Change, with Stanley Temple WEDNESDAY, MAY 2 — APPLETON, WISCONSIN Language Matters in Wisconsin, with Joe Salmons
Details of each banquet’s time, venue, price, and presentation can be seen by visiting: uwalumni.com/foundersday
THURSDAY, MAY 3 — HARTFORD, WISCONSIN A School of Medicine AND Public Health? with Dean Robert Golden THURSDAY, MAY 3 — NEW GLARUS, WISCONSIN Wisconsin Cheese 101, with Scott Rankin and Gary Grossen SATURDAY, MAY 5 — EAST PEORIA, ILLINOIS Innocence and Reform in the Criminal Justice System, with Byron Lichstein
To reserve a spot at your local
TUESDAY, MAY 8 — INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA Language Matters in Wisconsin, with Joe Salmons
Founders’ Day celebration,
TUESDAY, MAY 8 — CINCINNATI, OHIO Shaping the Future of Business Education, with François Ortalo-Magné
(888) 947-2586, or reserve your
THURSDAY, MAY 10 — MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA The UW Varsity Band, with Michael Leckrone
call the Alumni Association at spot online at uwalumni.com.
THURSDAY, MAY 10 — BROWN COUNTY Wisconsin Cheese 101, with Scott Rankin THURSDAY, MAY 10 — ALTOONA, WISCONSIN How Did We Get Here, and Where Are We Going? with John Sharpless THURSDAY, MAY 10 — ROCHESTER, MINNESOTA The Distinctive English of the Upper Midwest, with Eric Raimy FRIDAY, MAY 10 — SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA The UW Varsity Band, with Michael Leckrone SUNDAY, MAY 13 — BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS The Meaning of Life, with Russ Shafer-Landau
Celebrations include a reception, dinner, and program led by a distinguished UWMadison faculty member.
TUESDAY, MAY 15 — WASHINGTON, DC The European Debt Crisis and its Impact on the U.S., with Mark Copelovitch WEDNESDAY, MAY 16 — MINOCQUA , WISCONSIN Lakeland Badgers, with Craig Benson SATURDAY, MAY 19 — TAMPA, FLORIDA Building for the Ages at UW-Madison, with Daniel Okoli
Proceeds for each event support
TUESDAY, MAY 22 — PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA Ice Fishing for Neutrinos, with Francis Halzen
local alumni chapters, and aid
WEDNESDAY, MAY 23 — MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN Trends in Higher Education Governance and Finance, with Michael Knetter
the deserving local student base
Where Science Meets Service A service-learning course bridges academics and university outreach by: Jennifer Dineen
tudents gather curiously around the plastic container, eager to see what’s inside. A few kids giggle and creep closer while others cringe and hide behind their equally intrigued parents. Finally, one brave child, no older than five or six, reaches out to touch one of the walking sticks. The walking sticks are part of Family Science Night at Emerson Elementary School on Madison’s east side. The event, which brings together science academics and family community building, has been a part of Emerson for almost 20 years.
Kathy Perry, a second grade teacher who helps organize the event each year, believes that educational outreach events serve as a way for kids to engage with academics. “I think it’s important to open the doors for younger students. And so they know that there’s all kinds of science out there. There’s all kinds of scientists. And they have lots of opportunities just with things they haven’t seen,” Perry said. Many of the students from Emerson also attend after-school science clubs led by University of WisconsinMadison students. The clubs are one
Kids at Family Science Nights participate in a variety of presentations and hands-on activities to inspire them to explore science everyday. 2012 | WIdea
branch of an outreach program initiated by Dolly Ledin of the Institute for Biology Education. The program, Adult Role Models in Science, or ARMS, started 20 years ago as a partnership with Downton Madison Kiwanis with a vision to train teachers, parents and staff to become science leaders in the community. Ledin says the program now partners with 40 after-school science clubs in Madison schools and community centers. In addition to providing volunteers, the program works with the staff that leads these clubs and trains them to be able to lead the clubs on their own. “We’re training these volunteers… these special people that might come in once a week. But we’re also training their staff so that they’ve got the capacity to do it themselves. It’s like giving someone a fish versus teaching them how to go fishing. We’re trying to do both,” Ledin said. UW students can get involved with ARMS by taking Bio 375, a 2-credit, semester-long service-learning course offered by the university. The course, which Ledin started teaching in 2007, teaches students the basics of science outreach practices while giving them hands-on volunteer opportunities with children. Students enrolled in the course lead after-school science clubs for eight weeks during the semester. Megan Olsen, a sophomore at UW-Madison, said she was drawn to the class because she re-
“It just really
opened my eyes to how important science education is...” Students at Emerson Elementary interact with walking sticks brought to Family Science Night by volunteers in Ledin’s class. remembered how much she enjoyed similar programs when she was in elementary school. Now, she gets to see the kids she works with get just as excited as she used to. “It gets even better when your kids warm up to you and when you can tell that they enjoy having you come every week and are disappointed when you can’t come,” Olsen said. “It’s rewarding.” Terri Mueller, a UW student who took Bio 375 two years ago, said the class is what caused her to change her career path. When she first came to UW-Madison, she planned to pursue a career in the medical field. But after a semester of building straw cars and spaghetti noodle towers with kids at Lowell Elementary, Mueller knew she wanted to make a career out of it. After graduating this spring, she’ll move on to the School of Education at UW-Madison. “It just really opened my eyes to how important science education is and how we need to do more things to get more kids excited about science at a younger age,” Mueller said. Mueller thinks service-learning classes are important because they can broaden a student’s perspective of the community and show them that they can make a difference in someone else’s life. “I’m not saying everyone who takes this class is going to say ‘Yeah, I’m
going to be a teacher,’” Mueller said. “I guess just to appreciate the learning process and how kids learn and how they learn science. I think service learning is a great way to do that.” Ledin thinks the combination of service learning and teaching is what makes the ARMS program unique to the Wisconsin Idea. Many people think the Wisconsin Idea is about sharing the university’s research and expertise with the world, Ledin said, but it’s more than that. “It needs to be a two-way communication and collaboration with the community. Not just the university thinking that it has all the answers,” she said. “It’s important to have programs like ours that help to bridge that expertise with the needs in the community.” The interest in the class never stops growing, Ledin said. She was able to increase next semester’s size from 40 to 45 students, but the class is already full. Even with 45 students, she said, they still won’t meet all the requests for volunteers in Madison schools and community centers. Ledin hopes that in the future she sees more UW staff members involved with her class or similar courses. She said service-learning courses in the Chemistry and Physics departments would be a great way to expand further into the sciences. But she’d also like to
see classes that go beyond science. “It would be neat to have a class like this for art majors to do art projects in schools. I would like to see other similar courses developed on campus to meet the need of the community,” Ledin said. “Programs like this and staff who can make those linkages are really important for making the Wisconsin Idea happen.”
Four branches of ARMS:
After-school staff training
Family Science Nights
WIdea | 2012
A growth in personal and communtiy cultivation Students have found a new and helpful way to spend their free time
here is a new trending activity at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that is benefitting students and community members alike. More and more UW students are spending their time volunteering. The first step for many students looking for volunteer opportunities is the Morgridge Center for Pubic Services, a campus organization whose goal is to connect students with volunteer opportunities throughout the Madison community. The sheer number of programs available through the Morgridge Center has grown enormously in the last few years. One of the newest and largest programs being offered, Badger Volunteers, has grown from 40 students working at four different community sites in 2008, to more than 500 students working at 52 non-profit sites this year. Badger Volunteers logged over 11,000 hours of service last year. Megan Miller, the Civic Engagement Coordinator at the Morgridge Center, says the mission is to bridge the
campus and community. “There is often this perception in the community that you have this grand university with all its resources that is up on this ivory tower,” Miller said. “So we want to make sure that we are using our resources and talents, and are making an impact on the community whether it is local, national or international.” With all the different programs offered through the Morgridge Center, there is a way for nearly every student to utilize his or her talents. Sadie Voet, a student volunteer, says there are a lot of ways for students to get involved. According to their website, The Morgridge Center pairs with organizations like Wheels for Winners, which fixes bicycles for free, MSCR Emerson Elementary tutoring group, the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery and many more. Badger Volunteers creates teams of students who are sent to different volunteer community locations. The Morgridge Center takes care of all the logistics, such as contacting the community
A Badger Volunteer tutors in an after school program Photo courtesy of news.wisc.edu 2012 | WIdea
partners, setting up times and dates, and providing transportation to the off-campus sites. Voet spends her time, approximately two hours a week, volunteering at Mentoring Positives, an organization based in the low-income housing neighborhood of Darbow that provides counseling and activities for kids. The goal
“It kind of brings me back down to earth in the middle of the week.” —Sadie Voet Badger Volunteer is to try and keep them involved in their community in a positive manner. “I think after school programs are a really good thing for kids, especially kids who don’t have the proper attention they need after school, and I think it’s good for them to stay out of trouble and know there is positive things to do after school,” Voet said. “If you start with them young, when they get older maybe they won’t get into the trouble that some kids do.” Like many who volunteer, Voet says she gets as much out of the program as the kids that she works with. “It kind of just brings me back down to earth in the middle of the week. I just get really wrapped up in my homework, school and friend drama whenever that happens, and all that stuff,” Voet said. “It takes me outside the campus but still within Madison, and gives me a different perspective and a breather. It’s a nice little break.” Voet also explained that volunteering has helped her narrow down her future career plans. She knew she want-
Outreach ed to work with kids someday, and her experiences through Badger Volunteers helped her to focus that interest into a defined career path. Miller says she has seen lots of students discover that same experience. Volunteering is a good way to figure out if the career they are going to into is something they really want to do for the rest of their lives. Hailey Cross, a peer advisor at the Morgridge Center, commented that “it’s a way to see what you’re comfortable with without the presses of employment. You can test yourself out and at the same time give back to the community.” Cross said she thinks one of the most important reasons for students to spend their time volunteering is that they become more aware of life beyond the campus. They become conscious citizens of Madison and of the world. She commented that it is a safe way to get outside your bubble, see the way other pewople live and realize that you are not just an individual – you are an individual working within a system. Mike Tecca, Cross’ counterpart peer advisor at the Morgridge Center, added, “I think it’s just getting out of the ‘me, me, me’ thing and realizing there are other people and that working with them is not only a beautiful thing but it really helps build up your community. Commu-
Profile of a Volunteer
Mike Tecca is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but before Mike identified as a Badger, he was a volunteer. Mike took a year off before pursuing higher education to volunteer through Americore with a program called City Year. “It was the best experience I ever had,” Mike said. In his year as an Americore participant Mike logged over 2,000 of public service. Now that he is a student as well as a volunteer Mike has had to recon-
nity is important.” Voet seemed to agree with this statement. She saw herself and other vol-
“It’s a way to learn about who you are and what you want to do.” —Haley Cross Morgridge Center Peer Advisor unteers as part of the community they were helping - an individual within a larger whole. “It’s a nice way to contribute to something that has provided so much for us…Madison is my home, so I’d like to contribute back to it,” she said. “I think it’s good for other people to want to do that as well.” The center also tries to build relationships among the volunteers to create a sense of fellowship with all those involved. “It really builds community around volunteering, which itself is building community,” Cross said. Tecca explained that most of the time students don’t sign up for teams with figure his priorities, but he says he still thinks volunteering is an important aspect of his life. “A lot of colleges are really self focused on your personal development, what’s your major, where you want to go with your career, what friends am I going to choose,” Mike said. “It’s really, really self focused and volunteering does a good job on broadening that and focusing on others.” Mike now works as a peer advisor at the Morgridge Center for Public Service on the UW-Madison campus. The Morgridge Center offers students the opportunity and transporation to over 50 volunteering sites in the Madison area. He says he enjoys helping peo-
their friends, so they have the chance to like-similar minded people. Not only do teams volunteer together but the Morgridge Center also offers team-building activities, awards and workshops. Miller also believes volunteering teaches students something that they can’t learn in the classroom. She said having hands-on experience and seeing first-hand what textbooks are teaching students is an invaluable experience. “It’s about learning from the community and understanding that our students are so much stronger and well rounded when they have those experiences with the community,” Miller said. “It is an important part of their holistic learning, it’s not just about textbooks.” With all the benefits and growing opportunities that students discover by volunteering, it is no wonder that the programs through the Morgridge Center have grown so much. Cross thinks that volunteering is a win-win situation. “When people think of volunteering they just think of giving up their own time, but you’re really definitely getting something back from it,” she said. “So it’s a way to learn about who you are and what you want to do.”
By Molly Hayman ple get involved with volunteering and at the same time increasing his knowledge of the opportunities in the Madison area. He also spends his time with Badger Volunteers, a public-service student group that last year logged over 11,000 volunteer hours. When asked why he thought volunteering was an important activity for students he said. “It’s really one of the most beautiful things because it’s beneficial to both parties. You volunteer then you reflect and help yourself by thinking about, you know it kind of provides inspiration for what you’re doing in college.”
By Molly Hayman 2012 | WIdea
Bu i ld
yo u r
re s u
! r e e t
n u l o V
Looking for a way to give back to your community while having fun, meeting new people and building your resume?
[Volunteering] is an important part of holistic learning. It’s not just about textbooks. —Megan Miller Civic Engagement Coordinator Morgridge Center for Public Service
Come to the Fall Volunteer Fair! Thursday September 20, 2012 11 a.m. — 2 p.m. Varsity Hall, Union South Students can come find volunter and service-learning opportunities that match their interests, majors and career goals. Over 50 agencies will be present seeking help in such issues as health, environment, poverty, education and more!
University of Wisconsin Madison
It’s a really good way for the university to give back to Madison as a whole. —Hailey Cross Morgridge Center Peer Advisor It’s a way to learn about who you are and what you want to do. —Mike Tecca Morgridge Center Peer Advisor Volunteering gives me a different perspective and gives me a breather. It’s a nice little break. —Sadie Voet Badger Volunteer
...find yourself through ser vice to others...
The Morgride Center for Public Service
Last year over 600 Badger Volunteers logged 11,000+ hours! No application process — just register through the website! Over 50 community organizations to choose from! Stop in and visit us! Weekdays 8:30am5:00pm Red Gym, Room 154 716 Langdon Street Madison, WI 53706 Contact us: www.morgridge.wisc.edu email@example.com
608-263-2432 Fax: 608-262-0542
The Morgridge Center for Public Service ...find yourself through service to others...
The Morgridge Center helps connect the UW-Madison campus with the surrounding community by providing the opportunity and transportation to volunteering sites
throughout Madison. Through these opportunities students learn about their own strengths and interests while at the same time helping others and giving back to their community.
It’s just getting out of the “me, me, me” thing and realizing there are other people and that working with them is not only a beautiful thing, but it really helps build up your community. —Mike Tecca Morgridge Center Peer Advisor
Our volunteer organizations include... Amigos de las Americas-Wisconsin Chapter—Big Brothers Big Sisters—Goodman Community Center—Greater University Tutoring Service (GUTS)—Rape Crisis Center—REACH a Child—Special Olympics Wisconsin—UWisLit (University of Wisconsin Literacy Initiative)—Wisconsin Women’s Network ... And many more!
The Histor y of the Wisconsin Idea Celebrating 100 years of public service around the world
or many people Wisconsin’s reputation is that of a typical bucolic, midwestern state, but it hasn’t always been that way. Wisconsin was seen as the nation’s most corrupt state in the late 1800s in both government and business, according to University of Wisconsin-Madison Ph.D. student Gwen Drury. Drury published the 87-page online document titled “The Wisconsin
Bob LaFollette in his earlier years Photo courtesy of socialism.wikia.com
Profile of Bob LaFollette:
Robert “Bob” LaFollette attended UW-Madison as an undergraduate between 1874 and 1879. Under UW President John Bascom, he learned the value of public service, and bettering the lives of others through his work. As Dane County District Attorney between 1880 and 1884, Governor of Wisconsin between 1901 and 1906 and a Senator between 1906 and 1925, he fought corruption and monopolies plaguing Wisconsin, and worked with UW-Madison to better the lives of Wisconsinites and others around the world.
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Idea: The Vision that Made Wisconsin Famous.” In it, she noted there was bribery in the government to promote interests in the logging industry, the railroad industry was taking farmers’ land without permission, and since there was no regulation for an eight-hour workday, factory owners were exploiting their workers. “[There was] lots of corruption around the logging industry, especially. There was also a lot of controversy about the railroads - and whether they could just take the land of farmers whose fields their lines would cross, without proper compensation,” Drury said. During this time, a small group of prominent men associated with UWMadison worked to change Wisconsin’s bad reputation. Charles Van Hise, Robert LaFollette, John Bascom, Charles McCarthy, and others emphasized public service and improving the state –actions that came to be known as the Wisconsin Idea. According to the Wisconsin Idea’s website, “The Wisconsin Idea is the principle that the university should improve people’s lives beyond the classroom. It spans UW-Madison’s teaching, research, outreach and public service.” “It’s taking the expertise and knowledge generated at the university and getting it out to communities in Wisconsin regardless of location or age or anything,” said UW-Madison Outreach Specialist Anna Palmer. The name of the program comes from a book written by Charles McCarthy in 1912 titled “The Wisconsin Idea.” This year marks the centennial of the publishing of McCarthy’s book, and of the program. “It’s our opportunity to celebrate and highlight the UW’s work with the public and communities around the state,” said Katherine Loving, civic engagement coordinator at UW-Madison. That original small group of prominent men was able to gather and share
“It’t our opportunity to celebrate and highlight UW’s work.” — Kathering Loving Civic Engagement Coordinator ideas, information, and knowledge in part due to the passing of the Morrill Land Grant Act by President Lincoln and Congress in 1862, which gave all states a plot of land to sell in order to establish state universities to educate their citizens. Drury says that while some states, like Minnesota and Michigan, chose to create new universities to accompany their already established state universities, Wisconsin chose to use the money to improve its already existing school – the University of Wisconsin-Madison. New programs and departments like the university’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, College of Engineering, Cooperative Extension Service and Reserve Officer Training Corps were created at the university because of the money Wisconsin earned by selling its portion of land from the Morrill Act. This allowed the brightest minds in Wisconsin to gather in one place for higher education. When Charles Van Hise and Robert LaFollette arrived on the UW-Madison campus as undergraduates in 1874, they were greatly influenced by the ideas and theories of John Bascom – then President of UW-Madison. Bascom believed that since the state provided the money, and therefore the opportunity for a higher education to better oneself, those who benefited from this had a moral obligation to serve and better the state, as well. Van Hise and LaFollette graduated
Outreach together in 1879 and went on to successful careers -Van Hise as UW-Madison President and LaFollette as Governor of Wisconsin. In his inauguration speech as UWMadison President, Van Hise said Bascom, referring to his belief that students had a moral obligation to serve Wisconsin, “beat these ideas into our heads with sledgehammer blows.” Through their research, other men were beginning to change the reputation of Wisconsin at UW-Madison as early as 1890. That was the year Stephen Babcock invented the butterfat test to determine milk quality. Farmers previously watered down milk to sell more without producing more. By testing the butterfat content of all milk, Babcock’s test made this practice impossible. Another UW-Madison employee, Richard T. Ely, also had a role in developing the Wisconsin Idea. After being accused and later exonerated of teaching socialism by the Board of Regents at UW-Madison, the Regents cited the importance of academic freedom at UW-Madison, acknowledging that the university should not censor its members in their search for truth. The Regents also released a statement in which they cited the importance of “sifting and winnowing” in order to arrive at the truth. As a result, the phrase has become synonymous with academic freedom and the Wisconsin Idea. A few years later in 1901, Charles McCarthy founded the nation’s first legislative reference library at UW-Madison. The library brought all of the university’s resources together for the use and benefit of state legislators as they went about the process of drafting bills, and by providing up-to-date syntheses on current topics. McCarthy also brought cutting edge information from the university’s professors to his library. At the same time, Van Hise and LaFollette were beginning their own endeavors
“The boundaries are pretty much endless.” — Anna Palmer Outreach Specialist
to better the state of Wisconsin. The two began a Saturday lunch club at the governor’s mansion where members of the university could come to talk about problems from around the state, and what could be done to solve them. Van Hise was instrumental in the formation of the country’s first division of university extension in 1907. The extension division offered higher education to adults around the state regardless of age. Today, every Wisconsin county has a division of extension. According to Drury, monopolies like Standard Oil became prominent in Wisconsin in the early 19th century. As Governor, LaFollette rallied a group of men informally called “Insurgents” to fight the corruption brought on by monopolies. LaFollete’s work to reform Wisconsin’s government and to fight corruption earned him a comparison to Noah from the Bible in 1909, according to Drury. Wisconsin gained national attention in 1911 when it passed the workers’ compensation law and workers’ safety law. In fact, the majority of the legislation proposed in Wisconsin that year was passed. According to Drury, this is when Wisconsin reversed its reputation as the nation’s most corrupt state, and instead became the state with the best laws and least corrupt government. Impressed by the changes made in Wisconsin’s government and the Progressivism of their politics, reporters flocked to Madison. To silence the media, McCarthy wrote a book within a two-week period titled “The Wisconsin Idea,” that was published in 1912 answering all questions about Progressive reforms in Wisconsin. The title of McCarthy’s book stuck. Though UW-Madison employee Robert Foss coined the phrase “the boundaries of the university are the boundaries of the state” for the Wisconsin Idea in 1930, Palmer sees it more broadly. “Students from Wisconsin and out of Wisconsin go out of state and work everywhere. The boundaries are pretty much endless,” Palmer said. In 2010, the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery opened its doors, bringing the public together with members of UW-Madison to exemplify how research at the university is now intertwined with the every-
WIdea By the Numbers: 1862 - Morrill Land Grant Act is approved 1890 - Stephen Babcock’s butterfat test 1901 - Formation of Legislative Reference Library at UWMadison 1907 - Official Division of University Extension is formed at UW-Madison 1911 - Wisconsin Passes Majority of its Legislation 1912 - “The Wisconsin Idea” by Charles McCarthy published 1930 - Robert Foss finds Charles Van Hise’s old speeches: day lives of Wisconsin citizens. Drury also thinks, now more than ever, the Wisconsin Idea has a global reach as well as a local one. “After the grand opening [of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery], there was a woman from Japan who studies university extension worldwide,” Drury said. “She knew about us, since we did it first. She wrote a book about us, and now here’s a book [written in Japanese] about the Wisconsin Idea that I can’t read!” Drury emphasizes that over the past 100 years, UW-Madison faculty have worked to improve the lives of others, and to advance the ideas that men like Van Hise, LaFollette, and McCarthy started over a century ago.
By Trevor Block 2012 | WIdea