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The Power of a Wisconsin Union Job

As we all know, the Wisconsin Union is home to a beautiful terrace, a lively theater and delicious food. However, the moving parts of this organization would not be possible without the enthusiastic and committed staff. From service to communications, the Wisconsin Union employs a total of approximately 1,800 students in all areas, offering a foundation of skills that benefit their future endeavors. 

Today, we dive into two past student employees’ time spent at the Wisconsin Union and how they have benefited from the guidance and professional experiences provided by their student employment. 

Abby Synnes, a 2023 UW–Madison graduate in English and communication science and disorders, worked as a communications intern for two years throughout her undergraduate years. 

“Every day, I was ready,” Synnes said when asked about her time working at the Union. “I was excited.” 

Synnes’ intern experience not only brought writing, editing and storytelling skills that carry into her professional career today but exposed her to a supportive and exciting work environment. Synnes recounts her time organizing events and interviews; the Winter Carnival was her favorite, especially how much trust and independence were instilled within her position. 

As a college student, Synnes worked on press releases, media interviews, communication plans and blog stories. She worked with countless departments, including Outdoor UW, the Wisconsin Hoofers and the student programming board the Wisconsin Union Directorate (WUD) to execute her vision and published information. 

Synnes is a Wisconsin Union asset to which all current employees can look up. Among the busy semesters during which students begin to feel lost, Synnes is the perfect example of hard work paying off, and life truly does fall into place at the right moment. 

“Be patient,” Synnes advised. “Everything will work out.” 

Now a publicity assistant at Penguin Young Readers in New York City, she looks back on her time navigating the job market post-graduation and knows the Wisconsin Union played a crucial role in her success and expertise. 

Olivia Bratzke, a 2022 UW–Madison graduate in graphic design and sociology, began her time at the Wisconsin Union through the Bolz Center for Arts Administration when obtaining her master’s degree in arts and creative enterprise leadership. 

Shortly after Bratzke completed her undergraduate degree, she started as a facilities intern at the Wisconsin Union. Through doing so, she contributed to the execution of Badger Bash, winter conferences and Union events that advanced her skills in project management and event production.  

“So many amazing friends and connections,” Bratzke said when reflecting on her time at the Union. 

Starting as an intern, Bratzke furthered her ability to pivot at the last minute and facilitate authentic professional relationships, ultimately landing her a full-time job after earning her master’s degree. Now, Bratzke works as the experiential marketing coordinator at the Wisconsin Union, where she draws skills from her internship to succeed in her current role. 

Bratzke additionally blends her graphic design and business skills into the inner workings of the Wisconsin Union. Through dedication, hard work and consistency, Bratzke has built a foundation for her career and continues to be an asset to the communications team. 

“Don’t be afraid to ask for different opportunities,” Bratzke answered when asked about advice to current student employees. 

Synnes and Bratzke both took advantage of the opportunities ingrained in the Wisconsin Union and are proof that student jobs are essential to professional growth and independence. 

“Working at the Union was the highlight of my college experience,” Synnes concluded.

Interested in joining the Memorial Union team? Check out union.wisc.edu/jobs for full and part time opportunities.

Author: Lenah Helmke

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