Making Memories on the Terrace
There are 1,200 sunburst chairs scattered across the Wisconsin Union’s almost 90-year-old Memorial Union Terrace. Their signature yellow, green and orange hues glimmer in the sun and continue to show brightly through the night under twinkle lights.
While these symbols of warm months in Madison are recognizable icons of the Terrace, more important are the people who come visit them.
Whether you are experiencing the Terrace as a student, a community member or as a visitor, the common thread among all who visit this summer destination is that the Terrace is a place to make memories.
I spoke with a few Terrace-goers to see what it is about the Terrace that keeps them coming back.
Frances Palmer, a rising junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is what you would consider a Terrace regular. Frances spends at least three nights a week on the Terrace.
“When I first moved to Madison, it made me love the city and campus even more,” Frances said. “I love being by the lake and listening to live music with friends.”
Frances says she is an avid open-mic night supporter. She looks forward, each Wednesday night, to listening to music performed by local Madison artists.
“The Terrace offers a great sense of community while going to such a large university,” Frances said. “I hope the Terrace never changes.”
One long-time Terrace-goer, named George Cutlip, says the Terrace is the optimal place to gather and generate ideas.
“The Terrace is a place to use as your own,” George said. “It’s a point of cross-pollination where the university meets the community.”
For George, the Terrace has been a constant in his life since childhood. In fact, he says it was one of the reasons he attended UW-Madison. Today, he still finds time to come and enjoy the outdoor space 70 years later.
Seeing the number of families with young children on the Terrace is a heartwarming experience for him.
“It is gratifying to see families with young children playing on the Terrace, “George said. “I hope it impacts them like it did me.”
Many others share George’s love for the Terrace, including the Yanke family. UW alumni Angela and Travis Yanke have been coming to the Terrace for more than 20 years, including while they were UW-Madison students.
The couple now creates Terrace memories with their two children, Vivian, 6, and Harrison, 3.
“We come to the Terrace because of all the memories it has for us,” Travis Yanke said. “And the kids enjoy being here.”
From the live music to simply enjoying the lake view, the Yankes come back each year to visit and take part in the Union’s experiences for a lifetime.
“We try to come a few times out of the year,” Angela Yanke said. “It’s a good place for families.”
Ready to make your own memories on the Terrace? Click here to learn about upcoming Terrace season events. See you at the Terrace!