Getting Involved on Campus and in the Community
Throughout the year, many campus and community events welcome Badger families. Each event offers a unique opportunity to become engaged with the UW–Madison and with your student's college experience. We invite you to connect with campus through these events.
Cycle of Events
Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR)
Attending Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) is the first step for new students and parents. SOAR takes place the summer before the student’s first year at the UW–Madison.
SOAR will give you and your student a closer look at what life is like for a UW–Madison student. As you visit campus and learn more about the community, you’ll feel like you’re already a part of a great campus and a city that is routinely considered one of the most livable in the country.
There is a separate concurrent SOAR program for parents/guests. We encourage up to two parents or adult guests to attend the SOAR Parent/Guest Program. You will be better able to support your student through his or her college transition by learning about the university and resources that are available to you and your student.
Student Send-Off Celebrations
Each summer alumni chapters across the country hold student send-offs, bringing together incoming students, their parents, and local alumni.
For incoming students, it's a day to make new friends, get the inside scoop on beloved Badger traditions, and meet their "fan club" of alumni who reside in their home town.
For parents, it's a day to learn about UW–Madison from local alumni, as well as discuss issues and share concerns with other parents.
For local alumni who work to raise funds for their local scholarship fund, it's a day to meet and congratulate the students they're helping to support.
For more information, contact the alumni chapter nearest you.
Parents’ Weekend, hosted by the Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA), is an opportunity for parents to come to campus and participate in activities inherent to the student experience. Parents are encouraged to develop their connections to the UW by exploring the campus; asking questions; learning about opportunities through plenary sessions; connecting with other parents, staff, and faculty; and attending a pre-game Badger HUDDLE tailgate and Wisconsin football game.
Badger Family Spring Visit
Badger Family Spring Visit is an event sponsored by the UW–Madison Parent Program. Parents, family, and guests are encouraged to visit their student anytime during the month of April. Simply choose a weekend in April that works for you and take advantage of free or low-cost, family-friendly events and attractions while enjoying the beauty of springtime in Madison.
Just by registering, you’ll receive a complimentary welcome bag filled with Wisconsin giveaway items; coupons for parking, shopping, and dining; and much more.
Beyond staying connected to information pertaining to your student’s experience and development, there are many ways for parents and families to become more involved at UW–Madison. We have highlighted some important resources and services that not only showcase why UW–Madison is a world-renowned living and learning community, but also demonstrate why it is a popular education and visitor destination.
Find out what makes the campus and community a popular visitor destination!
Wisconsin Alumni Association
Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA) links alumni, parents, and friends with UW–Madison. WAA offers scholarship information, online career services, lifelong learning opportunities, worldwide travel, and other opportunities for parents to become more involved. Each November, WAA hosts Parents' Weekend.
Read blog entries from a Badger Mom as she details the journey of sending a child to college for the first time.
University of Wisconsin Foundation
The University of Wisconsin Foundation is the official fundraising and gift-receiving organization to support the University of Wisconsin–Madison. To find out more about giving to the UW Foundation, view their website, call 608-263-4545, or e-mail: email@example.com.
The Wisconsin Union is the social, cultural, and recreational center of campus. The Memorial Union, on the shore of Lake Mendota, and Union South, near Camp Randall, serve as gathering spots for students, faculty, staff, community members, and visitors. Find out more information on becoming a member and opportunities available to parents and families—including theater events, films, music, mini-courses, and outdoor recreation programs. Phone: 608-265-3000.
Browse the Continuing Education Catalog online.
Continuing Education Opportunities
The University of Wisconsin Division of Continuing Studies connects alumni, parents, and friends to the UW through a wide variety of enrichment opportunities, special events, and courses.