Kait and the Badger

One student's search for the voice of UW-Madison

Adieu, @UWMadison; It’s been good.

10366008_10154299298420438_8497840869324693448_nWell, it’s that time: It’s time for my last post. I’m not sure I’m ready to feel nostalgic. Honestly, these past four years have flown by, and even though it’s been a year and a half, I feel like I just started this blog. I’m also not sure I really grasp the fact that I’ve graduated. I’ve been in school for so very long, it’s hard to believe it’s finally over. There were days when I didn’t think it would happen. I kept waiting for something to go wrong – some paperwork mishap or some botched class (although I still have a three-credit independent study this summer, so knock on wood).

It’s been tough to find a place at UW-Madison, and this blog really became my home. It gave me the tools to explore campus and to reach out to other students. There is no end to the amazing work going on here at UW, and I was so privileged to be able to explore some of the projects and meet some of the people behind all the innovation here. I hope I was able to successfully share some of the incredible stories I stumbled into.

I won’t rant for too long, I just wanted to say thank you. Thanks for reading and taking a look at all these silly snapshots. Thanks for taking the time to share my point of view, and I hope that it helped you understand our campus just a little bit better. I feel so lucky to have been able to grow as a journalist and slowly (and clumsily!) improve as a videographer and photographer through this blog. As a final farewell, here are a few snapshots from Bascom and the Terrace, because – let’s be honest – although I won’t miss climbing the hill twice a day, I will definitely miss hanging out in those two iconic spots.

Now, to find a job…

Student Spotlight: Life Lessons in Italian

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Heather Wright, vice president at UW-Madison’s Italian Club, makes homemade pizza for the group.

A while back, I was able to visit the Italian Club and learn their recipe for homemade pizza. As the school year comes to an end, Heather Wright, the club’s vice president, shares some thoughts on her role in the organization.

“I took Italian in high school. I loved it, and I wanted to stay involved on campus, so I came to the first Italian meeting and they were holding elections,” Wright says.

Wright, who was a new freshman at the time, was elected as vice president of the Italian Club almost immediately, and jumped into not only a new life on campus, but a new set of responsibilities through her student organization.

“I hate leadership roles and I hate public speaking, so it was a little weird for me,” Wright says. “I kind of forced myself to be more personable and outgoing because freshman year I didn’t know anyone in the club.”

Now a junior in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication, Wright says that Italian club – in a very surprising way – helped her develop an important set of professional skills.

“It’s definitely broadened my social network and my leadership abilities, as well as giving me a place to apply some of the skills I learn in the J-School,” Wright says.

In her first years as vice president, Wright learned to balance the group’s social media platforms, her own time and especially the budget.

“Money is always an issue,” Wright says. “We have a little bit of help from ASM and a little bit of help from the Italian Department. Like us, they don’t have a lot of money to spare, so we try to raise most of our money through bake sales or fundraisers with Mia Za’s.”

Above all, Wright tries to use her position to spread the word about the Italian Club, to help the organization grow and invite new members.

“We welcome everyone and try to educate people about Italian culture and to help them grow,” Wright says. “My freshman year, there were not very many regular members. Now we have five to ten people who come to every meeting and every event.” Read more…

It’s almost that time, Badgers.

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Taking the Stress out of Finals: Dogs On Call

Button gets some attention from UW-Madison Students.

Button gets some attention from UW-Madison Students.

At the end of each semester, College Library becomes a home base for thousands of stressed out, under-slept and over-caffeinated students. On Tuesday, in an attempt to relieve some of the tension and offer a therapeutic experience, Dogs on Call, a local chapter of the global non-profit Pet Partners, brought their therapy dogs to the library for some cuddling and attention.

Gina Smith and her beagle, Button, have been volunteering for six years and love visiting the university.

“We just come and help relieve the stress of all the students during finals week. We also visit the dorms,” Smith said. “I know how much it makes the students happy, and when (Button) gets out of the car, she starts to get excited too. She knows.”

Animal therapy has been used in hospitals and clinics for years as a way to combat stress, and bringing the service to students on campus during an especially chaotic time of the year made sense to the volunteers at Dogs on Call.

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Charlotte, a therapy dog with Dogs on Call, enjoys the attention of five or six UW-Madison Students during finals week.

Liz Morrison, and her French bulldog, Charlotte, have been volunteering with the organization for nearly five years.

“We know that petting an animal, especially a dog, can help lower blood pressure, respiratory rate, and decrease pain and anxiety,” Morrison said. “The idea is that simply by petting a dog for a few minutes, it will help calm down the anxiety and the stress that students are feeling.”

As Button, Charlotte and Sacagawea, a friendly Newfoundland therapy dog in the group, lapped up the attention of dozens of students, Smith and Morrison explained that the dogs volunteer in a variety of environments across Madison.

Sacajawea is a furry, friendly veteran therapy dog in the non-profit Dogs on Call.

Sacagawea is a furry, friendly veteran therapy dog in the non-profit Dogs on Call.

“We go to the psychology unit at the VA Hospital and to drug and alcohol treatment centers,” Morrison said. “We have stories of veterans who literally just wrap their arms around Sacagawea and cry, because she’s such a comforting dog. She lets herself be that kind of dog for them.”

Button and Charlotte also participate in the Reading Education Assistant Dog, or R.E.A.D., program.

“They help children get over the fear of reading, because it’s non-judgmental listening,” Smith said. “If they’re stumbling with a word, they’ll reach out and start petting the dog and they can pronounce it, then.” Read more…

Charlotte of Dogs on Call at College Library!

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Delicious Impromptu Desserts!

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Blue Skies!

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Student Spotlight: Design in the Midwest

photoMadRunway, a non-profit fashion show aimed at bringing local designers together, came to a close late last Friday evening. As the crowd of fashion enthusiasts cleared out of Madison Public Library’s airy top floor, designer and UW-Madison student Emily Osterbauer took a minute to reflect.

“I was enrolled in International Business,” Osterbauer explained. “But I’ve been sewing since the second grade, and I’ve always done things with fashion. I made things for my friends’ school dances or my prom, but I didn’t think that it could be a lucrative career.”

After coming to Madison, Osterbauer decided to follow her passion, and is working towards becoming a designer.

“If I don’t do it, I’m going to regret it for the rest of my life, so here I am,” Osterbauer said.OstQuote

Today, design is an intimate part of Osterbauer’s life, and she says the process is personal and unpredictable.

“I just kind of start off with an idea of what I want my collection to look like, or how I want it to feel,” Osterbauer said. “The number one thing is fabric. Before I make anything I have to have a certain fabric in mind.”

For Osterbauer, watching a design come together and being able to craft something from scratch is one of her favorite parts of her work.

“I like to reveal the process in my clothes,” Osterbauer said. “It’s so fulfilling, just getting the fabric from phase A to Z…watching it transform.” Read more…

Moving Forward. Looking Back. (Final Edition!)

When I started this project last year, I had no idea how foundational it would be to my time at UW-Madison. Each week, I discover a new building, a new mural or something hidden in the archives that tells our campus’s story. As a transfer student living off-campus, I sometimes feel like I’ve floated through my years here, but this project has given me the opportunity to engage with our community in such a perfect way.

I’m a journalist, which means that above all, I’m insanely curious about everything. The “Moving Forward. Looking Back” project has let me answer so many questions about who we are as Badgers. I’ve talked with librarians, geologists, artists and psychologists. I’ve explored the most high-traffic buildings and gotten lost in tiny alcoves hidden away on campus. If you’re around for another year or two, I encourage you to do the same! I’ve never had the time to join a club, and it’s been a challenge making a place for myself here, but just exploring campus gave me a sense of belonging.

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This last photo in the series shows a snapshot of the exterior of Memorial Library in 1962. The flower beds have changed, but despite all the construction, Library Mall remains a hub for anyone on campus.

We’re evolving, and this photo essay was one way to show it. All my gratitude goes out to the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections and their amazing staff, who made this project possible. Thanks again, for taking a look!

Revelry 2014: Bigger and Better than Ever

This weekend, Revelry was back, bigger and better than ever. Musicians like Sky Ferreira, G-Eazy, Waka Flocka Flame and Dillon Francis (to name a few) performed at Memorial Union on a series of stages. The event brought students from all over the state, and featured music styles from rap to synthpop.

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