University of Wisconsin–Madison

The Wisconsin Union: Where Student Life Gets Lived

Seated in an armchair, an undergraduate student works on her laptop computer while enjoying the quiet of a tucked-away spot in a staircase landing at the Memorial Union.
There are many comfortable spaces at Union South and Memorial Union that offer students a quiet place to study. (Photo: Jeff Miller/UW–Madison)

The Wisconsin Union’s Memorial Union and Union South serve as a home away from home for students. They are safe, fun places where students explore, learn, develop leadership skills, and more. The Union has opportunities for whatever Badgers may want out of their experience. Here are just a few of the ways that students can make the most of the Union:

A Place to Work
The Wisconsin Union has more than 1,200 student employment opportunities and more than 50 different types of positions, including but certainly not limited to social media intern, climbing instructor, event planning intern, baker’s helper, and paddling instructor. With each role, students have the opportunity to build up their résumés with real-world skills before they graduate.

Wisconsin Union student employees also enjoy discounts on food, flexible work scheduling, all-staff parties, and more. In a recent Union survey, 92 percent of student employees said they would recommend working at the Union to a friend or classmate. Students can view available jobs on the Wisconsin Union website. All students are encouraged to apply, including international students and those who have work-study.

A Place to Lead
Student leaders plan, promote, and implement more than 2,000 events that take place at Union South and Memorial Union each year. Events includes live music performances; engaging discussions on current political issues; innovative, diverse film lineups; outdoor climbing trips; volunteer service trips; and more. These leaders are part of the Union’s student-led programming and leadership board called the Wisconsin Union Directorate (WUD), which is made of up 10 WUD Committees and six outdoors-focused Wisconsin Hoofers clubs.

All students are welcome to join WUD and Hoofers. In addition to opportunities for fun and leadership as committee members, some student leaders, such as committee directors, receive stipends and other leadership benefits.

The Union is also home to the Willis L. Jones Leadership Center (JLC). JLC aims to inspire students to work to positively transform themselves, their peers, and their communities.

A Place to Unwind
The Union provides spaces and programming to help students relax and just be. They can enjoy the famous outdoor space known as the Memorial Union Terrace, catch a movie at the Marquee, play trivia at the Sett, or attend one of thousands of events all year long. From bowling, to the performing arts, to yoga, to a reflection room, there’s a way for every student to unwind with the Union. View a full list of events.

A Place to Grow
There are endless opportunities for growth at the Wisconsin Union. Students can learn new skills at a job, join a committee or club, and attend student-led events — activities that help students gain new perspectives.

Students can also explore the outdoors with the Union through Outdoor UW and Hoofers. Outdoor UW provides everything from yoga classes to snowshoe rentals. Rotating art exhibits in the Union’s galleries at Union South and Memorial Union also offer numerous chances to consider new ideas and, in some cases, innovate art forms. And Wheelhouse Studios, an open arts studio, provides a place where students can embrace their creative side.

A Place for All
Whether students come to work, to lead, or to play (or all of the above), the Wisconsin Union is a place that is meant to be enjoyed, a place where student life is truly lived, and a place where everyone can be their authentic selves. We hope you’ll stop by one of the two Unions the next time you’re visiting campus.

—Wisconsin Union, Maddie Boulanger