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We Imagine.

PHOTO ABOVE: Mark Guthier, Wisconsin Union Director

Thoughts from the Union director & president Interview by Emily Connor KATIE: “Mark, you and I have always known keeping imagination alive is an important piece of the Wisconsin Union. Imagine all of the different programs that happen within Directorate. You never know what each committee and their director will come up with each year. Last year, Directorate put on a Yule ball, which was something so unique and different. That kind of innovative, out of the box, never-done-before programming is the most exciting.” MARK: “That’s true, Katie. On campus, you never know what’s going to happen. And the Union is here to respond to, lead and encourage all kinds of student creativity. As an organization, the Union is one of the campus’s most creative and imaginative assets.” KATIE: “Of course, we’ve dealt with our challenges this past year.” MARK: “We certainly have. There was an enormous amount of work with the opening of the new Union South. It is a testament to the strong will of the students and staff that given these tough economic times and the tremendous amount of hard work it took to pull everything together, the building was still opened with professionalism and excitement. The grand opening we imagined truly came to life.”

& Katie Fischer, Wisconsin Union President 2011-12

KATIE: “And a huge challenge was how to keep everyone motivated with the amount of work to be done. Directorate itself planned over 50 events for Union South’s opening weekend. It shows that the Union really knows how to pull together to make big things happen. MARK: “I’m looking forward to the first full year of Union South being open and really seeing how the students make it their own. And by the end of this year, we will be looking ahead to the Memorial Union Reinvestment project. We’re so fortunate to be moving from one great project to another, and I am excited to see how those designs come together.” KATIE: “Keeping Memorial Union vibrant is our biggest goal. We want to keep the building as iconic as it truly is. Everything we’re doing is about reinvesting. We’re not changing the Union or its historic value. We’re updating it and keeping it as vibrant as it should be. And seeing how students lead and design the project will be the most exciting part.” MARK: “One of the things I have appreciated the most is that I never know which way the project will go. It’s not preordained; it’s truly what the students want. I can only imagine what the new Theater will look like or how the new Hoofer space will feel. By blending the Union’s traditions and history with new modern-day amenities, I think we will create something truly spectacular.” n





Inside the Wisconsin Union Annual:












Thank you



To all the students, staff, members, alumni, friends, and lovers of the Union who make us the organization we are. It is your continued support that helps us deliver the best in programming, events, and leadership opportunities on campus and in the greater Madison community.


Imagine: New Traditions at Union South

“I could tell that the building was really going to make a profound impact on campus life. I can easily see Union South becoming as big of a campus destination as Memorial Union. It’s already grown so much since my first time there - I can’t imagine that momentum would stop any time soon.” -AIMEE KATZ, UW-MADISON JUNIOR


[On being the first members to have a wedding in Varsity Hall] “Everything with the wedding ran smoothly, and it was like the staff had done it a million times before. We didn’t have a theme besides ‘ooh look at the new Union South… go Badgers!’ And it was beautiful.” - KATHRYN MINGIONE CLASS OF ’07 UNION MEMBER

Union South opens its doors


By Emily Connor & Marie Renckens April 15th, 2011 marked a big day on campus – one that was years in the making. With the cut of a ribbon and members of the UW Marching Band blasting the loudest of fanfares, Union South was opened with great celebration. A large Terrace chair was delivered from Memorial Union and ceremoniously set in place as a symbol of the connection between the two campus unions. As onlookers eagerly walked through the open doors, the concrete, metal and wood became more than the sum of their parts -- a new Union was born.

Thousands of students and Union members marveled at the new building on grand opening day and many more continue to pour in to experience their own first impressions each day. New spaces have paved the way for new traditions as well as the return of some familiar ones. Imagining and building a new student union was no small task, but through the hard work of students, staff, architects and community members the new Union South is truly beginning to become a campus icon. n

“We were here for Badger Bash many years ago before it was in the new building. But we’re back and very impressed. It’s a beautiful building, and it’s organized so well.” - JUDY HILSEN, BADGER BASH ATTENDEE & UW-MADISON PARENT


Imagine: Emerging Leaders

Profile of a Wisconsin Union student employee Interview by Lucy Lloyd Article by Emily Connor


For many, an interest in sailing becomes little more than a weekend hobby. But Hoofer Sailing Club Vice Commodore Michelle Czarnecki couldn’t help imagining the possibilities to learn and grow when the Hoofer Sailing Club offered her a chance to showcase her passion, commitment, and ambitions. Four years later, the accomplished senior will graduate with high marks, an impressive resume, and fond memories. Michelle began her journey as a Hoofer Sailing Club instructor, teaching students and adults alike before becoming the club’s lesson coordinator. However, her contributions to the Union did not end there. Mary Hoddy, staff education and training director at the Union’s Training Resource Center (TRC), quickly took notice of Michelle’s energy and initiative. Michelle became a TRC facilitator and office assistant and helped design the staff training program for Union South. Still, Michelle could not help but think bigger about what the Union could offer her. As an English and creative writing major, she decided to become involved with the Wisconsin Union Directorate publications committee serving as a prose reviewer for the Humanities magazine. Her work has since garnered attention from industry professionals and brought her the opportunity to interview with Marvel Comics. However, Michelle will never forget that it was those big white sails that opened up the multiple opportunities. In 2010, the club awarded Michelle the Hoofer of the Year and Hoofer Leadership awards to commemorate her hard work. “Working here won’t only benefit your resume; it will benefit you as a person and make you a better leader in the future as well,” said Michelle. “I’ve just been given so many opportunities I don’t think students are even aware of. In all my roles at the Union, I’ve learned something valuable and gained experiences you would never get anywhere else.” And it’s the experiences she’s gathered, the friends she’s made, and memories she won’t forget that have made her time at the Union truly worthwhile. n

“In all my roles at the Union, I’ve learned something valuable and gained experiences you would never get anywhere else.” - MICHELLE CZARNECKI, WISCONSIN UNION STUDENT EMPLOYEE


“When we identify an organization we want to support, we are recognizing their work and thanking them for doing something we cannot do ourselves.”

Imagine: The Power of Giving


One family gives back By Ben Young Bob and Dottie Jones King credit their spirit of giving to their core beliefs. A sense of gratitude, responsibility and stewardship motivate them when making philanthropic decisions. Their two areas of major interest are positive youth development and the issue of extreme poverty—both areas that require strong leadership and support. It was this commitment to youth development that connected the King family to the Wisconsin Union.

Dottie. “My father Willis Jones (Coach) was a natural leader in the community,” she said. “He was often called a ‘builder of men’ as a boys’ basketball coach at Madison West High School. He believed in taking kids and putting them in the right direction, and by empowering people in different ways, he effectively taught leadership.” “The Student Leadership Center at the Wisconsin Union emulates everything ‘Coach’ was all about,” Bob added.

“We’ve been blessed with success in our lives, and we strive to be certain that what we are doing will make a real difference,” Bob said. “We are investing in the generations of tomorrow, which will be created by the young leaders of today.”

The Kings believe the Wisconsin Union is a great institution for the future, as it has proven for nearly a century that young people are capable of achieving great things when given decision-making control in a creative environment.

The Kings believe that the best way to build youth into leaders is encouragement through direct support and recognition. The family made a monumental commitment to the young leaders at UW-Madison by funding the creation of the Willis L. Jones Student Leadership Center at the Wisconsin Union. The gift will directly support the evolution and further development of student leadership at the Union, offering students new opportunities and perspectives.

“The Union has a myriad of opportunities for leadership. When young people start thinking they ‘can’t do it’, that’s the biggest obstacle to them reaching their goals,” Dottie said. “We feel a personal commitment to being influential. The entire subject of leadership rests on the idea of sticking your neck out and trying something.” The students here couldn’t agree more. n

The choice to name this new home for the Wisconsin Union Directorate (WUD) after Dottie’s father serves as a celebration and continuation of his legacy. It was a fitting choice, explained

Learn more about Wisconsin Union student leadership at


Imagine: Unforgettable Performances

The edges of the bell curve


By Esty Dinur “We are fortunate,” said Ralph Russo, Wisconsin Union Theater director, “that our mission is broader than the average performing arts center. It includes the outer edges of the bell curve, not just the center. Historically, we have brought artists who wouldn’t come to a city this size otherwise. An audience for this exists here and we have been able to explore boundaries with them. We prefer performers who have authenticity, character, and fortitude rather than a Broadway-ized collection of stars.”


Indeed, the Theater’s history is a compendium of firsts. Young artists like Yo Yo Ma, Emmanuel Ax, Martha Graham, Esperanza Spalding, and Eddie Palmieri performed here before they became stars. And multiculturalism and appreciation for unique performing arts became Theater standards here years before such concepts became mainstream. In 1944, Paul Robeson performed as Othello in a production that included Uta Hagen as Desdemona. Robeson was the first

“We are more focused on mission, engagement and quality audience experience than ever before ... and we will continue to evolve.” – RALPH RUSSO

performers. Not because she had a mandate for multiculturalism— there was no such mandate at the time — but because of her commitment to quality. As she said, ‘We only program the best.’ And Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and the rest of them were the best.” For Stuart Gordon (UW-Madison student from 1965-1969) it was the Union Theater’s mission of showcasing and producing innovative performing arts that inspired him to become the accomplished movie and theater director he is today. Stuart traces his career back to the production of Marat/Sade in the Union Theater. According to him, “It was revolutionary. The audience is part of a play within a play, which is put up by inmates in a mental asylum and who might lose control any time. It opened my eyes to the power of theater and made me excited about it.” Stuart was inspired to create Screw Theater and went on to direct experimental productions at the Union Theater, including the famed political satire version of Peter Pan, which was banned by the district attorney because it included frontal nudity. “It was the unique opportunity to do all of this that showed me who I was and what I wanted to do,” says Gordon. And the Theater’s dedication to showcasing authentic, breakingthe-boundaries talent continues today. Fall 2010 featured the controversial musical Spring Awakening, a coming of age story based on a 19th century drama, made modern with its rock opera music by Duncan Sheik. Although critics questioned the intense sexual focus of the musical, students from the Theater committee advocated for the risqué show and felt it was an important exploration of sexual identity and teen angst. Students had a strong turnout for the show and it ended up receiving favorable reviews from the community.

PHOTO: Seun Kuti, son of legendary afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, returns to the Union Theater for the 2011-12 season.

African American to play the role with a white supporting cast and the production had its share of controversy. Even earlier, Marian Anderson, one of America’s very first black singers to perform on the national concert circuit, was booked by the Theater. This was the Theater’s inaugural season but Anderson sang in the 3,000 seat Stock Pavilion because of the great demand for tickets.

Although the Theater prepares to go dark for two years due to renovation, the outlook is clear: “We are more focused on mission, engagement and quality audience experience than ever before,” said Ralph Russo, “and we will continue to evolve.” The Theater renovations will indeed enhance audience experiences, as a new stage floor and seats create a more modern and comfortable atmosphere. A student/ Theater lounge addition will increase lobby space and accessibility will be improved throughout the entire west wing. The project also features display areas to relive some of the Theater’s history. Guests will be able to step into a modern space but still feel the traditions and stories of every Theater star who performed on stage. As the Theater undergoes much needed updates, the heart of its programming will remain strong—the innovation, exploration of boundaries, and art that belongs at the edges of the bell curve will continue to be part of the Wisconsin Union Theater experience. n Learn more about the Wisconsin Union Theater at

Former Theater director Michael Goldberg explains, “Starting in the ‘40s and into the ‘60s Fan Taylor [former Theater director from 1946-66] sought out and presented prominent black artists and


well as the cherished “bouncy seat” Deauville model used in the1930s-60s. The upper Terrace level would feature the oldest model, the mid-level the Deauville model, and the lowest level the current chairs to illustrate the evolution of the Terrace. “Bringing the chairs back reinforces the most important goal of the project which is to preserve the past and look to the future by telling the building’s stories,” said Wendy.

“There are things the Historical Society is not telling us we have to preserve, but we want to keep because they’re historic to us and we want to show how proud we are to have them.” – COLIN PLUNKETT

Imagine: History Come to Life Reinvestment project helps uncover hidden relics By Emily Connor


For many buildings, old hinges, doorknobs and knick-knacks are thrown away as carelessly as weekly trash. But over the last 83 years, Memorial Union staff have saved thousands of the building’s original pieces. As plans for the Memorial Union Reinvestment continue, the design team found ways the project can highlight the historic pieces now tucked away in hidden basement corners. Even old Terrace sunburst chair designs that date back as far as the late 1920s, patiently sit waiting to be rediscovered. “The design team explored how to tell the history of Terrace chairs through the Reinvestment project,” said project manager Wendy Von Below. The team is looking for a manufacturer to replicate the original chair as


According to student project manager Colin Plunkett, keeping the Union’s history alive has been one of the most important elements of the Reinvestment project.

“We’re really working on finding spaces around the building to tell our story,” said Colin. “Instead of having these amazing historical things just stuffed in the basement, we’re going to put them on display.” The design team is also working closely with the Wisconsin State Historical Society to ensure historical elements of the building are preserved. But Colin says the Union plans to do even more. “There are things the Historical Society is not telling us we have to preserve, but we want to keep because they’re historic to us and we want to show how proud we are to have them,” said Colin. Whether as iconic as the original Terrace chair or as mundane as an old doorknob, every tie to the past represents the Union’s unique journey to the present. And by honoring its history and traditions, the Union can imagine a bright future. n Learn more about the project at or follow @MUReinvestment on Twitter.

Imagine: Experiences for a Lifetime P H O T O : Angela Limbach, Hoofer president 2011-12

Revival of the Bradley canoe


By Ben Young While plans for renovating Memorial Union include a much-needed upgrade of the Hoofer quarters, one prized piece of Hoofer history remains patiently tucked away in storage until the project brings it to light: an early 1920s Haskell birchwood canoe. Finding an original Haskell today is nearly impossible. What makes the canoes so rare is their distinct craftsmanship. The technique of mechanically bending birch plywood into shape and using a special glue sealant formula to bind the seams makes the canoe virtually impermeable to water. Although all Haskell canoes are unique, this particular Haskell has the distinctive trait of being one of the most enduring symbols of Wisconsin Hoofers history. According to Hoofer President Angela Limbach, “The Bradley Haskell canoe is an important representation of the Hoofer spirit and the depth of history the club has.” The canoe was originally bought by Dr. Harold Bradley and passed on as a gift to his dear friend Porter Butts, who became director of the Wisconsin Union from 1928-1968. Porter and Doc tested the limits of the Hoofer Haskell for years on their outings to pristine wilderness destinations. One of the trips included a particularly memorable month-long excursion in Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada where legend says the initial idea of Hoofers was born. In a letter to his mother, Porter writes about his comrade “Hal” and that fateful trip:

“That man knows everything about outdoors… He can pick out the cry of the loon and tell you it is call a symbol of the Northland, that it is from a bird that swims on the water under water or in the air that it is a fighter, that it is not very choice to eat. Or he will explain the habits of the moose, the formation of the rock, the depth of the water, the way to carry a canoe, how to make ka-nick-a nick tobacco, or the weather tomorrow. He is modest, he is kindly, he’s a great man, and that is why I’m glad I was on this trip.” The Bradley canoe continued to take many journeys with Porter’s family throughout the years. Porter’s daughter, Sherrill Randall, eventually sold the beloved canoe to Tad Dunn, a long-time family friend, and Tad in turn bequeathed the prized canoe to Hoofers with the intention that it would eventually be on permanent display for all to enjoy. “The Haskell is a symbol of the wilderness, of adventure and of the foundation of what Hoofers is all about,” Sherrill said. “We are very hopeful that it can be restored to its former glory and are pleased it will have a special home with Hoofers.” And Angela agrees. “While we won’t be taking this canoe out on the water anymore, any Hoofer will tell you that equipment should be used and enjoyed, not collecting dust in storage. With the upcoming renovations of Memorial Union, the Bradley canoe will be enjoyed once again and Hoofers past and present will be able to see just where their roots stemmed from.” n Learn more about the Wisconsin Hoofers at


CONTRIBUTORS Emily Connor Esty Dinur Lucy Lloyd Marie Renckens Ben Young

EDITORS Sarah Artz George Cutlip John Sinclair


SPECIAL THANKS TO Spencer Blesi, Capture House Video UW Madison Communications Skot Weidemann

WISCONSIN UNION 800 Langdon St, Madison, WI 53706 608-265-3000 |

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2011 Wisconsin Union Annual  

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