Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Infamous UW Madison Memorial Union

I usually beam whenever somebody asks me what Madison, WI is like. Although I haven't necessarily seen a large number of universities, I consider Madison one of the best campuses in the country. Even Arizona State, known as one of the most beautiful campuses with gorgeous winter weather, doesn't totally add up.

The most memorable feature of Madison, is of course the student Memorial Union. Built in the early 1900's on what turned out to probably be the best piece of real estate in the city, the union features an interior resembling a german tavern and an outside overlooking Lake Mendota. During warm summer nights live music plays on a small stage, and seating quickly fills up. Don't expect to find a seat on the weekend unless you get there early, preferable directly after class. During the peak season, it can even be hard to find a spot to sit on the stairs, piers, or shore. If you have access to a boat, you can dock of shore and listen to the music from there. Any verbal description doesn't quite portray the aura felt while sitting out on the terrace and enjoying a beer, so I made sure to snap a couple of pictures when I was back early this month.

Unlike many Universities where the trend is going towards having dry campuses, UW Madison actually serves beer at the student union. Being public property, anyone of any age can just walk onto the terrace with no carding. (Both union membership and and ID are necessary to purchase alcohol) During my last year there, the current chancelor, set on a mission to kill the school party atmosphere, put an end to the 48oz cups which were the premier option to get beer in. (14oz and 24oz are also options, but they weren't as economical) The large cups, which were known to get soggy anyway, were replaced with plastic pichers, which quickly fit in as sturdier cups, with handles, and a nice spout. Nice try.


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