Ten-Year Journey of the Wisconsin Union

–submitted by Andrea Kaminski; photo by Pete Christianson

Mark Guthier 10 18 2017

Rotarian Eric Salisbury with Mark Guthier (center) and Rotarian Mary Ellen O’Brien

Mark Guthier, Director of the Wisconsin Union at UW-Madison, filled Rotarians in on the 10-year journey of reflection and growth that has resulted in restored, renovated and enhanced facilities for Memorial Union and Union South. He emphasized that the project was “our journey” because there were so many people, including students and many Rotarians, involved in its completion.

 

The Master Plan for the project was completed in 2004 and announced at the Memorial Union’s 75th Anniversary. Two years later a student referendum approved a student fee of $96 per student per semester in support of the project, and a capital campaign was launched in 2007. Operating revenues will cover the remainder of the $220 million budget.

In 2012 the Wisconsin Union Theater, Hoofers and Craft Shop facilities were closed. The “saddest period in the Union’s history” was when the Terrace was closed for several months, Guthier said. But now all of these facilities – and more – are open and operating and serving the University community. The crowning event was the recent opening of Alumni Park.

There were three goals for the project: infrastructure improvements to update deteriorating or obsolete facilities and meet new student expectations; increased space for student programming, meeting rooms, food service and production storage; and mission enhancements to serve the entire campus better and re-energize the Union’s status as a membership organization.

The project had a new Design Committee appointed annually, including nine students, two alumni, two faculty and two staff members. The Committee was always led by a student and Guthier himself had just one vote. In addition there were multiple advisory groups to ensure that the new facilities would meet the needs of the community.

The Committee abided by design principles that ensured the buildings will be “people magnets,” will advance student programming, and will be timeless and enduring. They strived for green construction and sustainability. Their goal was to achieve LEED Silver status for both buildings, and the prospects look good. Union South has received LEED Gold status, and they are still awaiting the rating for Memorial Union. In addition, the project aimed at making the buildings complementary of each other and welcoming of all University community members. Finally, they wanted the buildings to tell the story of the Union, student leadership on campus, and the state of Wisconsin.

Goals for ongoing operations are to “make every day an event,” operate according to sustainable principles and build community for the entire campus. The Unions must have a customer-first perspective because they rely on program revenue for their existence.

Guthier closed his presentation with a slide show of the renovated facilities and the many celebrations that marked the Union’s 10-year journey. He invited Rotarians to attend two upcoming events: a November 10 celebration of the Memorial Union being on the National Register of Historic Places and the November 11 re-dedication of the Gold Star Honor Roll.

Who We Are as Rotarians Worldwide

–submitted by Valerie Renk

_47A2878

Joe & Tina Ruskey

After a standing ovation, Rotary District Governor Joe Ruskey shared the difference Rotarians make when we work together.

In the past 10 years, he said, we have gained 1.2 million members. Also in the past 10 years, we have lost 1.2 million members.  Why?  They report their membership wasn’t relevant.  “We know this isn’t true,” he says.  “That means those who quit in the first three years simply don’t know what we really are.”

“So my goal,” Joe says, “is to tell the clubs, 3,000 members in this district, what an amazing organization of which they are part.  I want to shift their understanding of what a Rotarian is.”

Joe reported we have 34,000 clubs making an impact in 200 countries. Members are bringing peace to conflict regions.  They meet with leaders when government officials are not allowed.  Rotary teaches members about principals to prepare expatriates to return to their countries better prepared to help them.

Rotarians are making a huge impact on health, such as the major headway we are making eradicating polio, only the second disease in the world that might be eradicated.  There have been only 11 cases year to date globally.

Rotary International’s Foundation is ranked three or five in the nation, depending on the ranking, with 94 percent of gifts going to programs.  This is possibly due to our volunteer structure, ability to leverage other donors, and generous Rotarians.    Our model is all gifts are invested for three years before spending back with clubs, such as our club’s $125,000 Ghana project funded in part by the Rotary International Foundation.

Joe closed by telling about global Rotary development projects for clean water and menstrual product donations and hearing how they transformed the lives of young women. This is when he really felt the huge transformational power of Rotary for people around the globe.

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.

The New South Campus of Madison College

–submitted by Stan Inhorn; photo by Pete Christianson

Jack Daniels 10 4 17

From left: Lucia Nunez, Club President Donna Hurd and Jack Daniels

With great enthusiasm, Jack Daniels, President, described the new Madison College’s South Campus Initiative. Starting in 2013, the college has been working to develop a full-service campus. By partnering with 11 community organizations and agencies, the Initiative has made great strides in the creation of a center for life-long learning for an under-served population.   The foundation of the campus follows the Rotary Four-Way Test.

  1. Is it the Truth? While Madison is considered to have one of the most educated populations in the country, 57.8% of south-side residents have no post-high school education. It is an area of poverty and social isolation.
  2. Is it fair to all concerned? Most residents have barriers to education, including low wages, need for affordable child-care, extreme poverty.
  3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships? The campus will provide social vitality along with partners such as the Madison Metropolitan School District. A pilot program will allow junior and senior high-school students to earn up to 48 college-transferable credits.
  4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned? The Goodman Foundation has pledged $10 million and American Family Insurance has pledged $1.3 million for the first phase in building the campus. Once completed, people in the area will gain the opportunity to pursue jobs that pay a living wage.

Phase 1 contemplates a 38,000-square foot center that will provide learning spaces, support services, STEM-related activities. With additional funding, the campus could expand to 45,000 square feet.

Phase 2 would enlarge the campus to a 75,000 sq. ft. wrap-around, 7-day-a-week full-service academic center. Health professions, IT, business, language, technical trades would be included. Graduates would help meet the present worker shortages in these fields. The building would include 4 science labs, 3 IT labs, with transportation to the Truax campus for certain training. To allow students to pursue their education, financial aid scholarships will be available as will internships.

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.

Gill v Whitford

–submitted by Kevin Hoffman; photo by Mike Engelberger

David Canon 9 27 2017

From left: Sarah Canon, Club President Donna Hurd & Guest Speaker Prof. David Canon

UW Professor David Canon presented a historical context and current review of Gill v. Whitford, the Wisconsin case before the US Supreme Court that challenges the most recent redistricting completed in 2011.  The issue is whether the plan used excessive partisan gerrymandering to create an unconstitutional redistricting that discriminated in favor of one political party over another.  Oral arguments are scheduled this Tuesday, October 3.

Professor Canon explained that redistricting happens every ten years following the census to adjust districts for changes in population.  Generally, districts must be of equal population, must conform to voting rights acts (cannot violate racial or ethnic considerations), be compact and contiguous, and respect traditional and natural boundaries.  However, the practice of achieving partisan districts, called gerrymandering (drawing boundaries to enhance political advantage), has been part of our nation’s history for over 200 years.  The party in power wants to maintain an advantage whether it is Democrat or Republican.

Methods used to do this are called “cracking” and “packing”.  Cracking is the practice of drawing the district boundaries to reduce a given party’s voters so that they are too small to have an impact on the election outcome.  The sweet spot for cracking is to obtain a 55-60% election advantage.  Higher than that becomes overkill.  Packing is the practice of drawing the boundaries so that a given party’s voters are concentrated into a few districts.  The objective of these methods is to maximize the number of legislative seats for a given party.

The issue of partisan gerrymandering has come before the US Supreme Court in prior cases but the court has been reluctant to rule it unconstitutional since an objective and neutral measure of partisan balance has not been available.  Gill v Whitford uses an Efficiency Gap calculation to attempt to quantify the competitiveness of a given district.  The gap is the difference in the two party’s losing votes divided by the total votes.  Gaps closest to zero indicate a competitive district.  Anything over 7% is considered uncompetitive.  Wisconsin’s was in the 10-13% range.

The Federal District court has ruled the Wisconsin redistricting unconstitutional but did not force redistricting pending review by the Supreme Court.  The US Supreme Court is expected to come down along ideological lines with Justice Kennedy the swing vote.

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.

Wisconsin’s Economic Outlook

–submitted by Bill Haight; photo by Jeff Burkhart

Tom Still 9 20 2017

Tom Still pictured here with Club President Donna Hurd

This week’s speaker was Tom Still, President of the Wisconsin Technology Council, a non-partisan advisory group to the governor and legislature. In addition to policy development, the council’s activities include facilitating collaboration between companies and investors.

In promoting Wisconsin as a place to invest and locate business, Still cited the state’s many advantages such as affordable housing and water in strong supply, both of which can be big drawbacks in other states. He also pointed out that despite a perception of being a “high tax” state, Wisconsin’s taxes are steadily decreasing. Also, Wisconsin is finally getting on the national investment community’s radar, with numerous startup hubs, particularly in smaller cities like Eau Claire and La Crosse.

Wisconsin’s high quality of education is another plus. And in recent years the UW System has become more nimble to react to the type of graduate needed in the new economy. “The Ivory Tower is giving way to a more inclusive approach toward business,” he said.

On the state’s possible incentive for Foxconn, Still said: “I think it’s well worth pursuing.” We should ask “How much would you pay to essentially rebrand the state AND create jobs that support families while attracting young workers and offering underemployed workers a chance to retrain?” The Foxconn investment is less than one percent of the state GDP for one year – but spread over 15 years, he noted.

Possibly more important than the 13,000 promised Foxconn jobs are the indirect effects on the supply chain. “For example, a new glass factory or other manufacturer might spring from Foxconn’s material needs,” said Still.

In closing, Still invited the audience to check out 45 new companies presenting to investors at the November Early Stage Symposium (www.wisearlystage.com).

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.  

 

LHS Celebrates 10th Anniversary

–submitted by Founder Moses Altsech; photos by Brian Basken

IMG_20170918_173957

Pictured above from left: Phyllis Lovrien, Jed Engeler, Annette Hellmer, Haley Saalsaa, Beth Prochaska & Lew Harned

The Lew Harned Society marked its 10th anniversary on September 18 with a special event hosted by Founder and Dear Leader Moses Altsech.  Founded in 2007, the Scotch Whisky Fellowship was renamed in 2009 in honor of our great friend General Lew Harned, who has been there from the very first meeting.  We enjoyed great homemade food (presumably prepared at the caterer’s home), and music by a barbershop quarter courtesy of Ken Yuska–which coincidentally included someone who had served with Lew in Operation Desert Storm.

IMG_20170918_181654

All guests received a gift box of Quintessential single malt Scotch-filled chocolates.  The selection of eight rare single malts included the Mackinlay, a Scotch salvaged from Sir Ernest Shackleton after the wreck of the Endurance, rediscovered in 2007, and faithfully recreated.

IMG_20170918_183401

But as much as we like Scotch whisky, the Lew Harned Society is about much more than that.  It’s about Lew: How great a guy do you have to be for your friends to name a group after you?  It’s about friends: Our long-time regulars who are a standard staple, without whom we couldn’t imagine our gatherings, and new friends who want to join a group that’s fun and welcoming to all.  At Rotary we often talk about member engagement–and this is what member engagement is made of.  Goodwill, better friendships and Scotch.  Our group has the best-looking Rotarians, its very own General who’s always in a festive mood, and enough Scotch to keep us alive two weeks past the end of Western civilization.

IMG_20170918_181030  IMG_20170918_175516

If you want to join our second decade, contact the Rotary office at once: Space is probably not limited, but why risk it?

Preventing Workplace Violence

–submitted by Ben Hebebrand; photo by Jeff Burkhart

Longley Mahoney 9 13 17

Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney and Deputy Josalyn Longley

Speaking at the September 13 meeting of the Rotary Club of Madison, Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney along with Deputies Josalyn Longley and Cindy Holmes urged business and civic leaders to take a more active stance in preventing violence in area businesses, civic and religious institutions, schools and medical facilities. In the case of many shootings, the majority of which play themselves out in less than five minutes, “we are not there quick enough,” according to Deputy Longley, adding that “we are not the first responders – you are.”

Promoting a more action-oriented approach, the Sheriff’s Department is promoting an approach known as A.L.I.C.E. – and acronym for “Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter the attack, and Evacuate or Escape.” Citing broad support from the FBI or the Department of Homeland Security, the action-oriented approach stands in contrast to a more passive response such as hiding underneath a desk. “Passiveness is deadly,” said Longley.

In explaining A.L.I.C.E., the presenters started with the concept of “Alert”, posing the question whether businesses or buildings have a way to alert everyone to a crisis situation. Alerting everyone in a building in plain language as opposed to a code is the preferred method of communication. As regards to the “Lockdown” component, Longley encouraged that everyone within a building know and determine how you can get behind a locked door or as an alternative how one could barricade oneself. Having the option to lock a door from within a room rather than having to go into corridors is much preferred. The “Inform” function is to call 911 or also text 911 – an option available in Dane County.  Longley urged callers to be as precise as possible with describing one’s location, citing that numbered exit doors may serve as an excellent guide to responding law enforcement. The “Counter” approach is to be employed in cases of last resort – an approach where one should feel empowered to combat the assailant by throwing chairs or other objects. Lastly, the “Evacuate/Escape” function requires that potential victims know the quickest and easiest way to escape. “Do all your people know all the exits?” asked Longley, adding that most of us are creatures of habit, and thus escape the way we usually enter the building.

Ultimately, the best defense is to plan and practice. Just like fire drills have become second nature in schools, planning and practicing drills to prepare for attacks are the key to preventing tragedies. “The body cannot go where the mind has not been,” said Mahoney.

The action-oriented approach, however, has one significant exception. Citizens who are armed under “Conceal and Carry” rights are not trained to take matters into their own hands, said Mahoney, affirming his opposition to “conceal and carry” approaches. Other than the lack of training, armed citizens may also be mistaken as the shooter when law enforcement arrives.

Under the auspices of the Dane County Sheriff’s Department, more than 6,000 individuals in the county have received in the past 18 months specific training programs and educational materials on “Active Shooter and Workplace Violence” scenarios.

Please contact Dane County Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Deputy Josalyn Longley for scheduling and/or additional information.  (Longley@danesheriff.com or 608-977-1300).

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.