Shouting Out Significance: On What Matters at UW-Madison

By MSC Student Life Intern, Hiwot

Like so many places at UW-Madison, the Kohl Center holds a special type of significance. It is a place where Badgers of all walks of life come together. Each August the new class fills the stadium for convocation. Here, new students are welcomed to UW in a place that serves as a point of pride for Badgers around the world.

Sports play a huge role in the culture of UW-Madison, whether we’re reveling in a victory or mourning a loss, like the one that pulled us out of the Final Four.

from Madison.com; UW’s loss to Duke

The Kohl Center has also been a gathering place for people experiencing loss off of the basketball court. In December, more than 300 people had silently and peacefully gathered after news of the non-indictment of officer Daniel Panteleo, the NYPD cop responsible for the July 2014 choking death of Eric Garner.

That same freezing December night, the inside of the Kohl Center was flooded with Wisconsin Red. Students, parents, and fans gathered to support the team in its game against Duke University. The mourning crowd had been met by a different set of reactions as folks exited the stadium. While some heckled those standing in silent solidarity, scoffing at the signs that read #BlackLivesMatter, others signaled their support, raising their hands and even saying “thank you” to the protesters.

One of the most powerful moments of the evening was when someone walked straight from the doors of the Kohl Center into the crowd, joining the protesters in solidarity. I wonder, what would’ve happened if more people had joined? So often issues of racism and concerns with justice are silenced and minimized, preventing people from creating a socially just world where we can all be seen, valued, and honored. One heckler expressed this sad fact best by saying, “This is America…if you don’t like it, leave.”

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Those few people who did cheer on the protesters after cheering for the Badgers proved that though this campus can be divided, it doesn’t need to be. This is a place that should belong to us all. Why not wear Wisconsin red while holding a sign that asks Whose Blood is On Our Streets? Yelling “Go Badgers!” is something we’re all expected to do but the declaration that Black Lives Matter is met with disinterest, even disbelief. What would happen if the two were seen as mutually acceptable? When students are worried about their finals AND racial issues at the University, do they lose their right to be a Badger?

click image to read more about #blacklivesmatter on campus

Photo by Nate Moll. Click image to read more about #blacklivesmatter on campus

This is to say that it should be possible for someone to be a Badger, a person of color, a sports fan, a scholar, an activist, and any and everything else that makes them who they are. What would campus be like if we were able to openly call out microaggressions the same way we call out fouls in sports?

Vice Provost for Student Life and Dean of Students Lori Berquam was one of those silent supporters on that cold December Night. In a piece in the Wisconsin State Journal Berquam wrote that, in spite of the cruel and racist remarks aimed at the vigil, students maintained a level of “dignity and grace.” Berquam went on to say that they “clearly displayed the values this university holds dear.” She lauded students for organizing the protest, noting that “our students are scholars, they are problem-solvers, and they connect their passion with their purpose.”


This has been a trying year in regards to police brutality and race relations all around the U.S. and with the local death of Tony Robinson it is clear that Madison, Wisconsin is not bereft of these complicated truths. Through it all, students of color and allies alike have studied and come to class, and many will be graduating in a little over a week. Throughout this basketball season it has been clear that the highly successful team is a cornerstone of UW-Madison. There is no question that those athletes “matter.” Here’s to the hope that all badgers—on and off the court—can be seen, valued, and kept safe as we pursue degrees and strive to live full and free lives.

 Congrats to the Class of 2015

#BlackLivesMatter

The Benefits of Taking up a Leadership Position in a Student Org

by MSC Student Life intern, Maikoau


Many students walk into college not expecting to get involved in student organizations. Of those that do get involved, only few take up an executive board, or e-board, position within their org. Of course, with this responsibility comes dedication and time commitment but it is definitely worth it. Whether you are involved in a student organization or Greek organization, you can make a difference within your org and on campus just by contributing your time and dedication.

Here is a list of benefits from holding an E-board position within your organization.

  1. Sense of self/belonging

Being involved in an organization helps you find your place on campus. Because our campus is so huge, it is often difficult for students to find where they fit in. But as part of the e-board for an organization, you are able to find yourself as well as establish a purpose for yourself. A student organization provides you with a support system and a close bond with many others who may share the same aspirations as you.

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  1. Professionalism

In the real world, it is important to be professional. But let’s talk facts; no one is born with perfect professional skills. You gain them through experience and practice. Holding an e-board position in an organization is a way in which you are able to practice your professional skills and get critiques on how to improve. The more experience you have in a professional environment, the more skills you pick up along the way that will prepare you for post-college.

  1. The Power to Make Big Change

An e-board position allows you to bring awareness to what you want to see change in the community and on campus. As an e-board member, you are able to guide your organization in the direction that will promote its existence.

  1. Give Back to Your Campus

One major gain you get from being on the e-board is the opportunity to make an impact. Your group will be assisting you as you work towards your organization’s goals and take action. Leading your organization to making a change on campus will not only benefit the student body but your organization as well because the impact that you leave will be remembered. You will develop many followers who look up to you and be a leader.

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I personally, have benefitted so much from my involvement in student organizations I can speak for any of these five benefits. One of my current positions as Treasurer of the Multicultural Greek Council has allowed me to network and improve on my leadership skills. Although this does take up a lot of my time, I would not do anything differently. I was challenged to manage my time which has taught me to prioritize and work on my organization.


Getting involved in leadership positions within student organizations have many more benefits than just the ones I mentioned. You also enhance your communication skills along the way as well as being able to inspire other students. And if you are not involved in any student organizations, I highly suggest you start exploring. One way to start is checking out the Multicultural Student Center which houses many multicultural student organizations. Feel free to visit our website for more information on how to get involved and check out CFLI, the Center for Leadership and Involvement, or log into WIN, the Wisconsin Involvement Network, and search through the different student orgs on campus.

Present your work at the Undergraduate Symposium this April!

Are you engaged in research, service learning, fine art and performance? Present your work to the campus community and public-at-large! Last spring 630 students presented, displayed or performed their work for members of the University, the surrounding community, family and friends. The students were mentored by 345 faculty and staff.Interested in presenting your

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The Annual Undergraduate Symposium is a forum designed to showcase undergraduate students’ creativity, achievement and talent across all disciplines through oral presentations, poster sessions, exhibitions, film shorts (new this year), and performances. The Undergraduate Symposium is open to all University of Wisconsin – Madison students enrolled during the 2014-2015 academic year, including those who graduated in December.

This year’s Undergraduate Symposium will be held Thursday, April 16, 2015, in Union South. The schedule includes a film shorts session, a performance workshop where students can perform and discuss their creative process, and a reception at 5:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The Undergraduate Symposium Web site is located at: http://www.learning.wisc.edu/ugsymposium/.  For more information, please contact Laurie Mayberry, Assistant Vice Provost, at 262-5246 or laurie.mayberry@wisc.edu.​

How do we start living the Wisconsin Idea?

by MSC Student Life Intern, Kathleen

Wisconsin Idea Banner on Bascom Hall via University Communications

The Wisconsin Idea is the principle that UW-Madison faculty, staff, and students are recognized contributors to the Wisconsin Idea through their work “beyond the boundaries of campus to benefit the state, nation, and world.”

I have a feeling that we don’t all completely live up to the Wisconsin Idea 100% of the time. I believe we have room for growth. Amidst stories about Beyonce, Facebook posts pleading for another Candy Crush life, there are so many things happening in the world. For example, have you heard about what is happening right now with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)? ISIS is targeting Christian indigenous groups, one being the group I belong to, the Assyrians.

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To help those affected by ISIS, please visit assyrianaid.org

I know that when people on campus don’t know about ISIS or who Assyrians are, I get a little disappointed. I try to explain to them Assyrians are one of the oldest civilizations known to mankind. In Wisconsin we have a large Hmong population, so sometimes it helps to talk about the similarities of the Assyrian experience and the Hmong experience. We are both a nation. The legal definition of a nation being a distinct group of people that speak the same language and have the same customs that possess historic continuity and are distinguished from other similar groups by their origins and characteristics.

That was a lot of information thrown at you, but don’t you feel like you learned something new? Don’t you feel well informed? Aren’t you curious about other ways you can learn more? Here are three suggestions to help us all get closer to achieving the Wisconsin Idea:

  1. Learning other people’s history can help you understand your own. Before I came to Wisconsin, I had no idea who the Hmong people were. When I found out, I invested my time in learning more by taking Asian American Studies classes. While in these classes, I learned a great deal about similar historical experiences of the Assyrian and Hmong people including statelessness.
  2. There are always multiple sides to a story. What I usually do is Google search “world news” or if I want to know more about a specific country or nation I substitute the word “world” with the country or nation’s name. Because there are so many sides to a story, I like to get as many perspectives as I can, and I find that Google searching “world news” provides me with an array of sources. What works for me may not work for you, so I encourage you all to find the news sources that you enjoy and use that as a place for reference when you’re feeling uninformed or just bored. There are many ways to gain information within our technologically advanced world like Facebook, Twitter, BuzzFeed, Instagram, and so on. If you’re always on Facebook, feel free to check out the United Nations Facebook page to see what’s going on in the world. Or if you’re bored and just taking up time taking BuzzFeed quizzes to get to know yourself better, you can check out the BuzzFeed news section to get to know the world a little better.
  3. Even though we could know a lot about what’s going on in the world, we can’t know everything. Just because I took an intro to Asian American Studies class doesn’t mean I understand the full history or experience of Asian American people. Similarly, just because my parents tell me what my family in Iraq is going through in the Middle East, doesn’t mean that I have the complete picture.  There will always be more information and more to learn.

What we can do is try to inform ourselves to the best of our abilities, and luckily we have the beauty of living in the age of technology to help us do that! Happy reading!

Doggy Using Computer

 

 

I, Too, Am UW-Madison

Black students at Harvard College recently started social media photo and video campaigns via Tumblr and YouTube to underline the ways in which they have felt silenced on their campus by their peers and collegiate administration.  “Our voices often go unheard on this campus, our experiences are devalued, our presence is questioned– this project is our way of speaking back, of claiming this campus, of standing up to say: We are here. This place is ours. We, TOO, are Harvard.”  So far, the “I, Too, Am Harvard” campaign has been garnering national attention and other colleges are following suit.

The multicultural student body at the University of Wisconsin-Madison organized the “I, Too, Am UW-Madison” movement in response to the “I, Too, Am Harvard” campaign.  Their goal is to illustrate how their experiences as students of color unfortunately go hand-in-hand with racially-based and culturally-based assumptions and questions from their peers and colleagues about who they are and and what their purpose is on this campus.  “We hope this will serve as a demonstration that the experiences of students of color at Harvard and Oxford resonate across campuses in the Midwest, like at Iowa State, and most likely can be echoed throughout the nation. We hope this campaign will lead to serious discussions about race on our campus, and on campuses nationwide.”

Here are just a few of the pictures from the “I, Too, Am UW-Madison” website.

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Job Board: December 14, 2013

Student Service Coordinator, Assistant Director at Multicultural Student Center

Application Due: January 24, 2013

Job Description: Must be committed to social justice and work in collaboration with students and staff in the development of a more inclusive environment. Managing and supervising MSC Leadership and Involvement Staff. Collaborating with related outreach programs. Other duties to be performed when assigned.

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