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ICYMI: A look back at summer in Madison

August 17, 2023 By Kristina LeVan

Summer in Madison is a lot of things, but it’s definitely not boring. As August winds down, students, faculty and staff are gearing up for another academic year. In case you missed it, here’s a look back at some highlights from summer 2023.

A new generation of Badgers

A woman wearing red and white leads a group of children down a street.

Campus and Visitor Relations tour guide Olivia leads a group of students on a tour across campus. Photo: Taylor Wolfram

As thousands of Badgers said goodbye to Madison for the summer (and some for good), seventh graders from Edison Middle School in Green Bay learned about campus life as part of Bucky’s Classroom, a program that aims to help middle school students build a better understanding of college, both academically and socially.

Related: How to be a Badger while away from campus for the summer

Beauty and biodiversity

Four people kneel on a hillside and plant flowers.

Left to right, Dani Smith, Patricia New, Steve Skinner, Madi Weedon and Neil Schmidt of the Grounds crew dig in. Photo by Jake Stottler, FP&M

After the red and white begonias that form the iconic “W” outside of the Humanities Building hit the ground in early May, the Grounds Department continues to baby those buds throughout the summer. The iconic space is one of many designated “no mow” areas on campus. “We’ve been trained to be as sustainable as possible,” says Building & Grounds Supervisor Robert Scott.

Science marches on

A person wearing a hair net, mask, gloves and protective gown, works with a mouse in a laboratory setting.

Nacho Vivas, lab manager at the Rey Lab in the bacteriology department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, checks on a group of germ-free mice inside a sterile lab environment. Photo: Bryce Richter

Science doesn’t take the summer off. UW researchers announced learnings that shape what we know about our early human ancestors, heart disease, gene editing therapy to treat blindness and the Milky Way galaxy.

Learning on their own (Summer) Term

A man with a white beard and brimmed hat holds a plant sprig to the light for a group of college students and instructors. They are standing in short grass next to a wetland.

Mike Heim, a science faculty member at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe University who specializes in horticulture, demonstrates the translucent qualities of aquatic vegetation during a visit to the Lac Courte Oreilles manoomin (wild rice) restoration research ponds. Maria Moreno

Students navigated the waters of the Chippewa Flowage during a weeklong summer field course that interweaves Native history and culture with science education. Each summer, hundreds of Badgers take advantage of Summer Term to lighten their course load during the fall and spring semesters, get hands-on career experience and even graduate early. Fun fact: The average undergrad at UW–Madison earns their degree in less than four years — 3.85 to be exact.

Related: UW students get taste of real-world learning

The early bird gets the tickets… maybe.

Fans hold their arms up to make an "O" with the football field in the background.

Student fans cheer and make an “O” with their arms, to signify pride in their section. Photo: Althea Dotzour

The annual UW football season ticket sale is a mix of anticipation and anxiety, as students refresh multiple devices in hopes of getting a spot in the beloved student section. This year’s sale was only boosted by the excitement surrounding Luke Fickell’s first season as head football coach. “I ended up waking up at around 4:55 a.m. just to set up all my devices to be ready to join the queue,” says Jacqueline Renaud, an incoming junior from southern California.

UW turns 175

A statue of Bucky Badger is posed sitting with his cheek resting on his hand. He is looking away toward Lake Mendota where a fireworks display lights the sky.

A fireworks show takes place on Lake Mendota during the 175th Anniversary Launch Day Celebration at the Memorial Union Terrace on July 26, 2023. Photo: Bryce Richter

On July 26, UW–Madison celebrated a milestone 175 years in the making. In true Wisconsin fashion, the kick-off event (hosted 175 years to the day since the University of Wisconsin was founded) included music, cheese and of course, Bucky Badger. And an anniversary this big needs a pretty big party—festivities will continue through the 2023-24 academic year.

Related: New Bucky on Parade celebrates 175 years, honors UW–Madison’s past, present and future

SOARing to new heights

At center, new student leader and second-year transfer student Diego Martinez leads a group of incoming first-year students in conversations and ice breakers. Photo: Althea Dotzour

This year, UW photographer Althea Dotzour documented the SOAR (Student Orientation, Advising and Registration) experience through a different lens, as a soon-to-be Badger parent. She joined her son, an incoming freshman, during the summer session where she navigated her “fresh parent feelings” while also highlighting the people who make the annual tradition possible.

Terrace Time

Need we say more?

People sitting on a pier over a lake are silhoutted by a sunset.

As the temperatures warm, students flock to Goodspeed Family Pier to watch the sun set over Lake Mendota. Photo: Taylor Wolfram

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