Meet Your Members: Reena
The Wisconsin Union has always been a place for people to come together. Whether that is students, UW faculty and staff, Union members, families or the Madison community, the Union has always served as a common space for all.
This has been especially true for Reena Chandra Rajpal and her family.
Reena, whose parents were both emeritus faculty at UW-Madison, said she grew up at the Union and has fond memories of her family’s time here.
Sundays at Memorial Union were for eating Babcock Ice Cream, feeding the ducks, and watching the boats on Lake Mendota.
“You know when you’re a kid and the ice cream drips,” Reena said, “that was always the opportunity for my dad to be like ‘oh let me fix that for you’ and so he’d lick up our cones into the perfect peak.”
As she grew up, she came to the Union all the time. Whether it was watching a band on Saturday night while she was in high school, playing pool and ping-pong in the old pool hall, or coming home for the summer, she was at the Union every opportunity she had.
After her time as a Special Student on campus between her undergraduate and graduate degrees, she purchased her Union lifetime membership.
“It kind of was a no-brainer to get a membership,” Reena said. “Ever since I was a little girl I’ve been coming to the Union.”
As a mom herself, she remembers her daughter having her first ice cream cone ever at Memorial Union. Now with teenage children, they still come to the Union frequently for a Monday night movie on the Terrace, to play board games, or to simply relax and people watch. Sometimes her parents come with them.
They even take advantage of the Wisconsin Union Theater. Reena remembers seeing Indian Musician Ravi Shankar with her family; the first performance she ever saw at the Wisconsin Union Theater. More recently, she went to see Rupi Kaur who performed just last week.
As the UW Foundation’s Director of Development for the School of Nursing, Reena returns to the Union as a part of her job to host and attend events, and of course enjoy the Union’s delicious catering. Outside of work hours, the Union remains the place to relax and hang out.
“A lot of my colleagues after work will come down,” Reena said. “It’s still just an amazing place to come and, after work, be social with friends and colleagues.”
From family, to friends, to colleagues, the Union is a quintessential place for all to come together.
There are many things that make the Union special, one of which is the generations of people that have been coming.
“You can see this is a generational place for families and it really is a very, very special place,” Reena said. “I think we’re very lucky to have this kind of space, this communal space, that speaks to so many generations.”
Start your own family tradition and get your Wisconsin Union membership today!