Home is Stories
By Kelsey Pulera
We at the Wisconsin Union have the honor of carrying on traditions that our predecessors established over the past century and creating new traditions that make all who visit feel at home in their campus living room. We are the caretakers of these places that are home to countless stories and memories.
This year, we highlighted the moments that make our Union home with a new oral history project called the Storyteller Series. Through this project, we are recording our history.
The Storyteller Series features Union Director Mark Guthier and Emeritus Director Ted Crabb as they discuss the Union’s purpose and the lifelong memories made in the process of fulfilling that purpose. Here are some highlights from those discussions,
The Wisconsin Union is proud to be shaped by the vision of our student leaders. The Wisconsin Union Directorate (WUD) is the driving force behind year-round Union events that range from concerts on the Terrace to distinguished lecturers in Memorial Union’s Shannon Hall. No matter what the event or project, WUD provides out-of-classroom education and brings people together.
“This is what makes a university unique, when the students and the faculty can get together and discuss issues outside of the classroom,” Crabb said. “That is where true learning takes place.”
EVOLUTION OF THE WINTER CARNIVAL
This is evident at the Wisconsin Union’s Hoofers Winter Carnival. A tradition of the Wisconsin Hoofers, the carnival has brought people together since it first took place in 1940. As the largest and oldest student organization at the University of Wisconsin, Hoofers strives to maintain and grow traditions like the Winter Carnival.
This celebration of winter evolved from “Winter Week” in the 1940s to annual events like Rail Jam, a snowboard stunt course on Observatory Hill, and the annual snowshoe trek across Lake Mendota to Picnic Point for s’mores and hot chocolate.
MAGIC OF THE TERRACE
We continue to uphold these traditions while evolving to meet the needs of students and members.
Perhaps the most beloved of all traditions is summer at the Memorial Union Terrace. The Terrace reopened in May after nine months of renovation. Today, the Terrace meets the needs of a growing campus and community but maintains its nearly century-old charm.
“This iconic spot has transformed into a favorite for the entire city,” Guthier said. “This is now the place where town meets gown. It’s the campus, it’s the community and everyone comes together here.”
The Wisconsin Union is home to the moments that seem small in the present, but make up the most cherished and valued times of our lives.
The Storyteller Series preserves the Wisconsin Union’s traditions that serve as the backdrop to those experiences for a lifetime. None of these traditions would be possible without the support of UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff, donors and Union members and guests. Today and always, we thank all those who’ve made memories with us and who have made the Wisconsin Union story part of their stories.
Visit the Wisconsin Union’s Youtube channel to watch videos from the Storyteller Series.
The Wisconsin Union helps student leaders learn and grow every day. To make it happen, we rely on our greatest resource—the loyalty and generosity of alumni, members and friends. Every gift helps us do more for our students and members. To give, please visit union.wisc.edu/give.