Home is Family
By Kelsey Pulera
Everyone who has spent time at the Wisconsin Union knows it’s a place where strangers become friends and friends become family. For the Stutz sisters, it’s a home away from home. As Badgers and lovers of the outdoors, Margaux, Ella and Laurel Stutz each found a place to belong in Outdoor UW and in the Wisconsin Hoofer community.
Student leadership here at the Wisconsin Union helps create an inviting atmosphere that tells even the shyest of freshman that he or she, too, can be a campus leader. Programs like Hoofers and Outdoor UW provide opportunities for students to find purpose in activities they thought to be merely recreational. The Stutz sisters each took separate academic paths, but their experiences with the Union have proven to be valuable across the board.
Margaux Stutz participated in Hoofer Sailing Club and Hoofer Ski and Snowboard Club and was a dedicated member of the Wisconsin Sailing Team while she attended UW-Madison. She served as Sailing Team regatta coordinator, Sailing Team captain, Sailing Club commodore, Sailing Club youth coordinator and sailing instructor for the Hoofer Sailing Club.
After graduating in 2011 with a degree in economics, Margaux landed a management position with Trek Bicycle. She, in part, attributes her success to the experience and skills she gained from Hoofers.
“Without Hoofers, I wouldn’t have had the experience or skills to take on that role and more importantly, I wouldn’t have had the confidence,” she said. “I credit Hoofers with helping me get where I am in my career.”
Ella Stutz graduated in 2013 with degrees in math and finance. Like Margaux, she was involved in Sailing Club, Ski and Snowboard Club and the Sailing Team. She held numerous leadership positions, including Outdoor UW office lead staff, Sailing Club youth coordinator, Sailing Club treasurer, sailing instructor, Sailing Team fundraising chair and Ski and Snowboard Club trip leader.
“Hoofers was what filled my free time in college, and my college experience would not have been the same without it,” Ella said.
As Outdoor UW office manager and a UW-Madison senior, Laurel Stutz plans to graduate in May 2017 with degrees in economics, strategic communications and environmental studies. She has been involved in Hoofers since she was a freshman.
“I like to be outside as much as possible–whether I’m running, sailing, skiing, biking, or just sitting,” Laurel said.
Margaux, Ella and Laurel benefited personally from the camaraderie and recreational activities the Wisconsin Hoofers offered. But, all the while, the Stutz sisters were giving back to the Union whether it was through their employment, their leadership in Hoofer clubs or simply by sharing their perspectives in order to improve the program.
“I love that Hoofers is still a part of my family. I love that my sisters got to have amazing experiences like I did with the clubs, though we all took our own paths,” Margaux said. “And I love knowing that there are so many more people whose lives are going to be forever changed because they joined a university club and embraced the outdoors.”
Frequently serving as sites for weddings and reunions, our buildings are no stranger to friendships or family ties. It isn’t often, however, that three of three siblings consecutively participate in and contribute to a program as significantly as the Stutz sisters have.
Margaux shares these cherished memories with her husband, whom she met through a fellow Hoofer member.
She captures the magic of the Wisconsin Union perfectly saying, “You find lifelong friends, who become your family, and maybe you even find your spouse. And no matter where in the world your life takes you, you can always come back to the Union and feel like you have come home.”
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.