Terrace Views

Behind the Scenes: The Terrace Reopening

The Wisconsin Union Terrace is a long-standing UW-Madison staple, dating back to its construction in 1928. It is a place where the entire Madison community can come together, relax, and enjoy the beauty of Lake Mendota and the UW-Madison campus. Since its inception, it has held a special place in the hearts of UW-Madison students, alumni, and the community. 

However, the timeless appeal of the Terrace doesn’t just magically happen. Extensive planning, effort, and collaboration take place behind the scenes and are crucial to a successful Terrace season. This year Covid-19 made the process even more challenging.

Rob Gretzlock, interim associate director of retail at Memorial Union, stated that the detailed planning involved for an ordinary Terrace season begins in February. The process starts with the Marketing and Culinary Committee, which reviews the menus that will be produced, along with any new items to be added. Necessary staffing needs are reviewed by the HR office and any maintenance updates are executed by the facilities team. Everything is done in collaboration with the Leadership Team to ensure all of the plans and new ideas fit within the timetables, expectations, and mission of the Union. 

Terrace-goers watch a live concert
Terrace-goers watch a live concert once again.

This past year, Union employees and administration have had to adapt and create procedures to meet the fast-changing public health mandates of Dane County. This involved adjusting capacity levels, implementing heightened sanitation, masking and social distancing protocols,  and meeting staffing requirements, all focused on the goal of maintaining a safe and enjoyable environment for employees and patrons.

When public access to Memorial Union was limited, several improvements and updates were made. According to Rob Gretzlock, the Union was able to create two new additions to the Terrace this year, The Terrace Store, as well as the Sunset Lounge and Restaurant.

Last year’s limited access also allowed for more employee and management interaction, including increased in-depth training for student employees who, as Susan Dibbell, Deputy Director of the Union, noted, are crucial to running and providing a smooth Terrace season. 

The Memorial Union Terrace is not only a long-time staple for UW-Madison, but it is a representation of the type of community and people that make up the city of Madison, as well. The employees, students, and visitors all play a part in making the Terrace successful. The inclusive, energetic, and welcoming atmosphere is something that truly makes every visit unique and memorable. 

Author: Emily Rohloff

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