Sunday, August 12, 2007

University of Wisconsin-Madison (2007)

I was fortunate to be able to teach a four-week summer course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison this year, an activity from which I've just returned. Naturally, I took a bunch of pictures of the lovely campus and surrounding town of Madison, the state capital. The pictures shown below thus augment some I took on a 2004 visit to Madison.

The Memorial Union at UW-Madison appears to serve on summer evenings not just as a hub for the university community, but perhaps for the town as a whole. The following shot is of the front of the Union at dusk.

Food and beer are sold on the back terrace of the Union, adjoining Lake Mendota, and on Wednesday-Saturday nights, free musical entertainment is offered. This next shot shows one such night on the terrace...

The course I taught was in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, the same as my affilitation at Texas Tech. At Wisconsin, the HDFS main office, several faculty offices, some lab space, and a conference room have long been located in the house shown below, which is next to the larger and more academically traditional School of Human Ecology building. From what someone told me, home economics students used to live in the house and host tea receptions for the Chancellor (see this unit from the SoHE's history).

Plans call for renovating and expanding the Human Ecology building, so that the HDFS house will have to be torn down. If there's any interest in preserving some of the materials of the house, the SoHE might follow what the University of Minnesota did in re-creating the brick arch facade of its old, demolished football stadium inside its modern Alumni Center building. I mentioned this idea to a few people; who knows if anything will become of it?

Perhaps my most interesting discovery on this trip came when I wandered into the gift shop within the Camp Randall football stadium complex. There's no shortage of shops in town for buying red and white Badger paraphernalia, so I wouldn't necessarily go into every such store that I saw. In this case, however, it was on a quiet Sunday that I walked by Camp Randall and saw a sign saying the gift shop was open, so I went in. At first, it seemed like any other gift shop. As I walked further back in the store, though, I came upon the spectacular design of a large window looking directly onto the football field (below). What's also spectacular is that children from area hospitals get to watch games from the patio between the store and the field.

At the other end of State Street from the campus is, of course, the State Capitol building. The final two photos below depict, respectively, the Capitol dome (similar in appearance to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC) as seen in the distance from State Street and the Capitol grounds during a major art fair held while I was in town (there seemed to be activities and festivals going on virtually every weekend I was there).