15 Signs You’re a UW-Madison Alum

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For University of Wisconsin-Madison graduates, young and old, returning to the alma mater is like coming home. Whether drawn back by the fresh Babcock ice cream, sunrises on the Terrace or the low light glinting off the Capitol dome, when you say “Wisconsin,” you’ve said it all.

1. You Follow the Badgers…

Once you go Bucky, you never go back. You’re a die-hard Badger, you bleed red (which really isn’t that remarkable, come to think about it) and you’ll go to your grave hating Ohio State. You might not make it to every game, but if you close your eyes, you can still remember the echoing chants of “On Wisconsin!” resonate across a field pitched red and black.

2. …And Stand Out in the Crowd

Who needs old memories when you can make new ones? You don’t have to wake up for 7 a.m. student ticket sales, you can still tailgate with the best of ‘em and you can afford better pre-drinks than wop and High Life. You may have arthritis and a beer-belly sowed during your college days, but you’ll Jump Around until your knees buckle. And when the clock runs out, you’ll lock arms with your neighboring alumni and give praise to thee our Alma Mater, U-RAH-RAH, WISCONSIN!

3. Your Favorite Holiday is Halloween

You’ve got nothing against Christmas presents, of course, but they’ll never top Freakfest on State Street. You pulled out all the stops for your Halloween celebrations, from the drinks to the costumes, and you know that no Easter egg hunt or fireworks display will ever top those October nights.

4. You “Own” a Chair From the Memorial Union

Perhaps “own” is a questionable word here, but you love that chair like nothing else. A staple memory and iconic image from the good ole’ UW, the Terrace chairs represent the best that Madison has to offer. Managing to appropriate one was a feat worthy of recognition, but recognize it quietly because stealing one amounts to a $500 fine.

5. You’re a Hard Worker…

UW–Madison’s acceptance rate is under 50 percent, and it hosts students from all 50 states and over 120 countries. To gain admittance to the school requires a knock-out academic and extracurricular profile, and standing out once you’re there is even harder. After four years of striving for that academic spotlight, you left Madison knowing how to work hard, how to get noticed and how to exceed expectations.

6. …And an Efficient One

That said, you also know how to have fun. In Ireland, there is something called a “Platinum Week,” a lucrative accomplishment in which students not only find the willpower to make it to every single class for the week, but also go out and party every night. You, meanwhile, achieved Platinum Weeks back to back. You’ve probably had a few Platinum Months. Studying and partying are two blocks cut from the same UW stone, and you’ve taken your efficiency for balancing both out into the world.

7. You’ve Never Found a Farmer’s Market that Beats Capitol Square

So. Much. Cheese. Fried cheese, fresh cheese, cheese sticks, cheese curds and the mother of them all: Stella’s hot spicy cheese bread. The Madison Farmer’s Market offers a variety of products so vast it’ll take hours to encompass, and the treasures you found there were well worth the early Saturday mornings.

8. You’ve Posed with Abe Lincoln

Whether the photograph is archived in a dusty box in the scary part of your basement or displayed loud and proud, odds are you’ve got a snapshot of you and Honest Abe at the top of Bascom Hill. Rubbing his feet helped you through that nasty organic chemistry exam and sitting on his lap undoubtedly helped you through that nasty thing called “life.”

9. You’re Employable…

According to Forbes, your alma mater ranks #11 for best public American universities and there are over 420,000 living alumni making their respective impact on the world. With an alumni network as vast and accomplished as yours, you stand out to potential employers and attract potential employees. And your degree from a top-tier research university won’t hurt.

10. …And You Return the Favor

From weekend service opportunities to producing the second highest number of Peace Corps volunteers, Badgers give back and pay it forward. Alumni have given over $2.41 billion in total as gifts to the university. You were made great by the donations of those before you, and odds are high that you’ve helped provide for those that followed.

11. You’re a Free-Thinker

UW-Madison is a liberal university. No, I’m not referencing the politics up on Capitol Square or the naked protesters rallying on Bascom. The UW teaches its students how to think, not what to think. Embracing diversity and experience, UW-Madison provided you with the tools to analyze any situation and come to your own conclusions.

12. You Harbor a Secret Love for Macaroni-and-Cheese Pizza…

Toppers and Greenbush were great at sopping up nights on the town, but nothing ever came close to a massive, greasy slice of Ian’s Mac-n-Cheese pizza. Whether you travel the globe or stay nestled in your own little corner of the world, you’ll never find its equal.

13. …Surpassed Only by Your Love for Bacon and Beer

Until you hit up Wando’s on a Tuesday, that is. Famous for its fishbowls and lively student atmosphere, the hidden glory of Wando’s manifests in the form of free bacon. Not only do Tuesday nights mean $1 cans of beer, but they also come with free bacon. Yes, I said free. Yes, I said bacon. Yes, you really miss this place.

14. You Still Use a Tray as a Sled

Trained on the slopes of Observatory Hill, cutting a drift on a “borrowed” dining hall food tray was the highlight of the first real snowfall. You’ve carried the habit with you ever since and the disbelieving stares of your non-UW peers turn to awe as you whiz away into the sunset.

15. Badgers are Everywhere, but You’ve Never Left

You attended one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, graduated with a degree recognized around the world and sparked friendships with people who found knowledge as intoxicating as their weekends out. Whether you’re still living in the shadow of Camp Randall or simply hold those old memories close to your heart, UW-Madison will always be there to welcome you home. But if we’re being honest, you never really left.

Senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying English and History. Vinyl aficionado, book enthusiast, rugger, and disciple of all things nerdy.

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