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Feelings of displacement among Native Americans extends to campus

5 hours 40 min ago

Displacement has characterized the Native American experience for hundreds of years. This threat extends beyond the reservation, however, as University of Wisconsin-Madison students are still impacted by a lack of university support and a need for deeper community understanding.

As a freshman, Faith Bowman walked miles across campus without catching sight of another brown person. Left wondering where other Native Americans were hiding at a university built on Ho-Chunk land, Bowman said without a community she felt lost.

“Native students have been displaced for far too long,” Bowman said. “Both historically and just on this campus.”

Coming from Milwaukee, Bowman said she was able to assimilate to college more easily than other Native American students who come from small towns or reservations, but she still struggled to find a home on campus. Bowman’s mother is a part of the Stockbridge-Munsee community and Bowman is considered a descendant who was born on the reservation but raised in the city. It was not until the second semester of Bowman’s freshman year that a non-Native graduate student told her about Wunk Sheek, one of UW-Madison’s Native American student organizations, and Bowman found a community.

Bobbi Skenandore, a UW-Madison alumna from Chicago who is a member of Oneida Nation in Wisconsin, had a similar experience. She said as a student unaffiliated with any of UW-Madison’s scholarship programs, she came to campus not knowing what resources were available to her. After her first semester, she wondered if UW-Madison was the right decision, but met another Native student second semester who helped her get involved in Alpha Pi Omega, UW-Madison’s Native American sorority.

While finding the Native American community on campus makes student life easier, miseducation about and disrespect toward Native American culture can make four years at UW-Madison difficult.

Recruitment and retention

The summer before her freshman year, Bowman’s mother wanted her to consider attending UW-Milwaukee instead of UW-Madison, so she convinced Bowman to attend the other university’s orientation. Bowman said there was a stark difference between UW-Milwaukee’s orientation and the UW-Madison orientation she went to a week later. At UW-Milwaukee, an adviser pulled Bowman aside to show her all of the Native American resources on campus and encouraged Bowman to call her “aunty.”

“For students like me, there is that serious concern of if they will find their place on campus and if they will feel welcome to a point that they will graduate.”Bobbi SkenandoreBowman said she wished UW-Madison worked harder to reach out to its Native community earlier so students like her would not have to struggle until they found it on their own. UW-Madison created the position of American Indian campus and community liaison two years ago in an effort to reach out to the Native community.

Nichole Boyd, who took the position, said it is difficult to meet the needs of more than 400 undergraduate and graduate Native American students without support.

At the beginning of each semester, Boyd receives a list of everyone who identified as Native American during their application process and sends out a welcome email with about two pages of information on resources and organizations that could be helpful to Native American students.

“I’m an office of one so I’m still trying to work and navigate how to best access students and really figure out what they need and how I can make that work at a school that has [more than 40,000] students,” Boyd said.

Katie Cooney/The Badger Herald

Boyd said the two main programs UW-Madison uses to recruit Native American students are the Pre–College Enrichment Opportunity Program for Learning Excellence and the Information Technology Academy-Tribal Technological Institute. While not exclusively for Native Americans, PEOPLE helps prepare students in disadvantaged Wisconsin communities for college through tutoring and mentoring.

ITA-TTI teaches students how to use technology to tell their tribal stories in the Lac du Flambeau and Oneida communities. The programs aim to bridge the achievement gap and close the digital divide by working with Native American students.

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Boyd said the UW School of Medicine and Public Health’s Native American Center for Health Professions also hosts the Indigenous Health Summit every spring. It draws Native American students across the state to show them how they can pursue professions in the medical field.

“It’s a way to introduce students to campus and to help instill that is something that’s attainable for them — they can go to college,” Boyd said.

Skenandore said students coming through these programs are well-connected and know what resources are available to them, but for unaffiliated students she fears it can be too hard to transition.

“For students like me, there is that serious concern of if they will find their place on campus and if they will feel welcome to a point that they will graduate,” Skenandore said.

“Walking in two worlds” as a Native American student

Richard Monette, UW-Madison law professor and director of the Great Lakes Indian Law Center, grew up on Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota with a mother who passed away when he was 8 years old and a father with a drinking problem. He said going to grade school was a way to ensure he ate two meals a day.

He received degrees from Mayville State College in North Dakota, University of North Dakota, University of Oregon and UW-Madison before becoming a law professor. He described his extensive higher education experience as “walking in two worlds.”

“Whether it’s an academic adviser or a certain TA or teacher or somebody in the financial aid department, any familiar face [new students] can see on campus just to say hello during a passing period. [They are] little things that make college livable.”Nichole BoydMonette’s father told him it’s “convenient” Monette has two feet to accommodate the two worlds but questioned which world his heart would “come down in,” because he only has one.

Monette said not all Native American students at UW-Madison face the same dilemmas. He said when it comes to the transition, the class load is often not the most challenging part, rather it is dealing with the cultural divide. He said there are some divides in cultural values that can be overwhelming and negatively impact their ability as students.

Bowman called Boyd the “aunty” of campus because she works to make herself available to all Native American students, but she said Boyd needs more help.

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Boyd said there is a mix of urban Natives and students coming directly from reservations at UW-Madison. To make Native American students feel at home, Boyd said it is essential to create a safe space where they feel comfortable being themselves.

Erik Brown/The Badger Herald

Since familial relationships are highly valued in the Native American community, they are necessary to the creation of a safe space. Boyd said Native American culture sees everyone as an aunty, uncle, cousin, sister or brother — the family goes far beyond biological makeup.

“Whether it’s an academic adviser or a certain TA or teacher or somebody in the financial aid department, any familiar face [new students] can see on campus just to say hello during a passing period,” Boyd said. “[They are] little things that make college livable.”

Campus climate

Last March, stereotypical war chants interrupted a Native American student sexual assault healing ceremony at Dejope Residence Hall, a building whose name is derived from the Ho-Chunk language. According to the 2015 UW American Association of Universities Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Assault Climate Survey, 46 percent of Native American and Alaska Native female undergraduate students reported being sexually assaulted.

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Bowman said after the incident at Dejope, a lot of Native American students did not feel safe and started coordinating to walk in groups when traveling on campus. She said the location of the incident, a residence hall with Native American roots, was especially disturbing.

“The fact that students in that dorm did that is really terrifying because that should be the one dorm on campus [where] everybody knows the importance of the Native community,” Bowman said. “They literally have a fire pit with all the seals of the Native community on it so it … just really [felt] like this university doesn’t care about us.”

“College shouldn’t damage you — college should teach you some things but it should also lead you to a better experience.”Nichole BoydBoyd said she thinks the incident was born out of miseducation. She believes inaccurate Native American representations in Hollywood lead to widespread misunderstanding of the culture as well as the creation of dangerous stereotypes. She said several students contacted her about feeling unsafe after the incident. Their fear was not necessarily toward the incident itself but toward speaking up for themselves after it and being criticized.

Boyd said the incident was a continuation of historical trauma and just one of the more overt aggressions Native American students and faculty face everyday.

Boyd said sometimes she will start a lecture with the joke, “Hey, sorry I forgot my buckskin and feathers today but I promise you I … grew up in the Chicago Native community.” She does so because there is a stereotype associated with Native American culture that her appearance may not fit, but she does not want it to discredit her knowledge on the topic.

On the other hand, Boyd said if a professor recognizes a student is Native American, they often single them out as an expert on their culture even though they are still students.

At times it can feel like Native American students are just recruited to meet a cap and the university is not particularly concerned about retention, Bowman said. Reaching higher education in Native communities does not happen often so the students who do become role models. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the college enrollment rate for American Indian and Alaska Native individuals increased from 16 percent in 1990 to 35 percent in 2014.

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She said it is challenging for Native students to give positive feedback on UW-Madison to their respective communities since not all their college experiences are ideal. While they want to encourage other students in their communities to attend UW-Madison, it’s difficult to recommend it when they are dealing with these conditions, Bowman said.

Boyd said it is necessary to create a safer environment for Native students so communities want to send their children to UW-Madison.

“College shouldn’t damage you — college should teach you some things but it should also lead you to a better experience,” Boyd said. “You should be able to go back to your community and say, ‘Yes, you should go to UW-Madison for all these fantastic reasons,’ and I’m just not quite sure that our students of color, if you’re listening to what they’re saying, are able to go back to their communities and say that wholeheartedly.”

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Categories: Local Media

Doctoral candidate honored for building bridges between south Madison, UW

8 hours 45 min ago

After working hard to create a link between the University of Wisconsin and south Madison’s residents, doctoral candidate Julissa Ventura was one of six women honored March 7 with UW’s Outstanding Women of Color award.

The award recognizes women of color for their passion for social justice, service and community outreach. Ventura, who is a graduate fellow at the Morgridge Center for Public Service’s Community-University Exchange, said UW has collaborated with south Madison in the past, but the process has been difficult to maintain.

South Madison’s community members have always been expected to come to campus or UW has had to hold events in areas that are already tight on space, Ventura said.

After 2 to 3 years of research, obtaining funds, acquiring space and making renovations, the UW South Madison Partnership opened in February 2015. The partnership is located near the Urban League of Greater Madison and Madison College’s south campus.

Along with UW Director for Community Relations Everett Mitchell, Ventura said she wants to help south Madison’s residents establish a “mutually beneficial” connection with the university’s personnel and admissions department.

“[This link] is a way to tell the community that UW is really invested in true, mutually beneficial relationships, and that they are willing to create a space for that,” Ventura said.

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In September 2014, Ventura set out to determine how the space should be used, and decided it should be set up as a class or meeting area. UW’s Odyssey Project, a free program that provides yearlong humanities credits for adults who have faced economic barriers, is one of many programs that benefits from the space.

Other UW initiatives and community groups, such as the Dementia Outreach Group or religious organizations, are also looking to use the space, Ventura said.

“UW South Madison Partnership gives folks the space they need to expand existing partnerships and create new ones,” Ventura said.

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Through the space, Ventura wants to help south Madison’s youth see UW as a “possibility” for their college education.  She hopes the partnership will help the community create different projects and that UW could help facilitate and expand some of them.

Ventura said the partnership could also help UW students explore and learn from the south Madison community.

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Though she has left the partnership, Ventura has not stopped making Madison’s communities a better place. She is currently working with Latino youth for her doctoral dissertation and wants to continue her partnership with the south Madison community. Ventura is looking to start a Latino youth leadership program for high school students at Centro Hispano of Dane County.

“I’m excited to see the partnership grow,” Ventura said.

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Categories: Local Media

UW researchers study implications of record temperatures in Antarctica

8 hours 50 min ago

Many people are interested in knowing about the different extremes of the world, be it the highest peak, the lowest trench or the hottest, coldest and windiest places on the Earth.

Some University of Wisconsin researchers are working on feeding this curiosity through their research on Antarctica’s extreme temperatures.

The World Meteorological Organization Commission for Climatology set up a committee to evaluate Antarctic temperature measurements and establish the highest temperature extremes of the region. Researchers working with UW’s Antarctic Meteorological Research Center were an integral part of this committee. They recently published a study evaluating the Antarctic region’s highest temperature extremes.

Randall Cerveny, research professor at Arizona State University and rapporteur at the World Meteorological Organization, said the highest temperature extreme was recorded in Death Valley, a national park which spans from eastern California to Nevada, and the lowest temperature extreme was recorded in Antarctica. Knowing the extreme temperatures is not just a fascinating piece of information but it helps scientists understand regional and global climate change.

“We have gone from a 134 F above zero to a 128 F below zero,” Cerveny said. “That’s the realm of our planet in terms of its temperatures.”

Though it is good to know the lowest temperature records, the highest temperature records are becoming more relevant in the wake of climate change. Cerveny, who essentially put the committee together, said it was important to have representatives from various countries.

About 15 climatologists and meteorologists from the U.S., United Kingdom, Argentina, Spain and New Zealand, who specialize in the Antarctic region worked on this project, which started in 2015.

UW has about 60 automatic weather stations operating in Antarctica, Matthew Lazzara, an associate researcher working with AMRC, said. That is about half the total number of automatic weather stations operating in Antarctica. These stations can collect data by themselves and are unmanned.

A number of different institutes and nations own the rest, Lazzara said.

“So [UW’s contribution is] a big effort, it’s a huge impact, it’s a big deal,” Lazzara said.

Lazzara said there were three major outcomes of the project.

Before the study took place, the WMO did not officially recognize Antarctica as a separate region. After the study, the committee was able to formulate its current definition, which is the land and ice shelves below 60 degrees south latitude, Lazzara said.

The study also divided Antarctica into subregions based on their distinct climate system. Lazzara said the Antarctic Peninsula is a slightly warmer, low-lying ice sheet and continent while the Antarctic Plateau is the elevated, relatively colder region.

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Lazzara said the study established highest temperature extremes in these different subregions. Researchers investigated and evaluated data and records from various weather stations in Antarctica. The data the committee reviewed and verified helped them establish the record high-temperature extremes in different years.

The Signy Research Station established the highest temperature in the region in 1982. This British weather station, located close to 60 degrees south latitude, recorded a balmy 67.6 F. The study concluded the northernmost region of Antarctica is the warmest in the region.

According to data from the study, the high-temperature extreme recorded on the Antarctic Peninsula further south of Signy Station was 63.5 F. The Argentine research base Esperanza recorded this temperature in 2015.

An automatic weather station called D-80, located on the Antarctic Plateau, recorded the high-temperature extreme in 1989. This record was set at 19.4 F.

Lazzara said these highest temperature records do not signify climate change but can help scientists understand climate change in the future. Aside from indicating unusually high temperatures, the meteorological phenomena behind these records were normal, he said.

Lazzara and his team found these extreme highs were due to a phenomenon known as warm air advection. This is the horizontal transfer of heat in the atmosphere or over the sea. The solar heating under clear skies at a high elevation, where the D-80 automatic weather station is located, was a major contributing factor to the record temperature.

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Results from the study have other implications as well, Cerveny said. It can help researchers understand what kind of climate buildings would need to withstand. Moreover, information on temperatures in Antarctica will help researchers know how to prepare for work in such a region.

Moving forward, keeping an eye on any changes in the set records will be crucial to understanding climate change, Lazzara said.

Carol Costanza, who works at AMRC and manages the data inflow, said the project would contribute to WMO’s records.

“This was a rewarding project in that we were able to provide a record that will be recorded by WMO in their archive,” Costanza said.

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Categories: Local Media

Madison resident begins initiative to help city’s homeless empower themselves

9 hours 1 min ago

Madison resident Henry Johnson found that as a homeless man for nearly three years, there are few resources to help him get through this difficult time. But instead of feeling bad about his situation, Johnson looked to empower himself and Madison’s homeless population.

Johnson is in the process of starting the Homeless Entrepreneurship Initiative, a company and support system to help the homeless get back on their feet and help themselves and their communities.

“There are some scars, there’s damage from that transition when you decide you want to get up, and you still have to take care of those scars that are there,” Johnson said. “Something happens to you when you have to sleep outside, and something happens to your mind when you have to stand in line and wait for people to feed you.”

Johnson said many people simply do not understand homeless people’s struggles, which is why it is important to help them take matters into their own hands.

HEI will be a completely homeless owned and operated on-call company in Madison. Employees will have full-time jobs moving, cleaning and hauling scrap metal, among many other options, Johnson said. The program intends to boost homeless people’s self-esteem and give them a sense of purpose and an employer who understands what they are going through.

Any able-bodied homeless people who have fallen through the cracks and are not receiving any benefits or opportunities can join the initiative, Johnson said.

“Homeless people are the invisible people in our society,” Johnson said. “It’s someone you see but don’t look at.”

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Johnson said there are many obstacles preventing homeless people from finding and maintaining jobs. Citizens and problem-solvers must look deeper at the problem of homelessness instead of only providing monetary support to homeless people.

This program will help the homeless become independent from outside assistance and be able to determine their own path, Johnson said.

“I believe that we as homeless people, we as people on this earth, we have a responsibility to activate our own blessedness,” Johnson said.

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Johnson said his company will focus on keeping workers as accountable as possible. He also plans to work with at-risk youth and ex-offenders, because he too has spent time behind bars.

James Borling, a certified mentor with SCORE Madison, an organization that mentors small businesses, has been working with Johnson to get HEI off the ground.

“Henry is a remarkable young guy,” Borling said. “We’ve been giving him feedback on what we think his next steps should be and continue to work with him as he progresses through the path of getting this off the ground and running.”

Through SCORE, HEI will become a nonprofit organization. Borling said he believes Johnson’s background brings a new perspective to helping solve homelessness.

Johnson said he attempted to start this project in Portland, Oregon, but could not do so because of a lack of funds. Johnson said he believes the program could be made to work here in Madison.

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Johnson has been reaching out to people, distributing flyers and speaking to small businesses like Michaelangelo’s Coffee House on State Street to get his project started.

“This is a work in progress,” Johnson said. “I believe that with the right help and guidance, people just need hope.”

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Categories: Local Media

Dane County looks to ensure no homeless family is turned away from shelter

9 hours 1 min ago

With the help of the Salvation Army of Dane County’s new program, the Dane County Board and other organizations, a growing number of formerly homeless families now have affordable housing in the area.

The program, Dane County Assists with New Starts, follows the Housing First model. This means the program takes those who are experiencing homelessness and moves them directly into an apartment, Director of Salvation Army Social Services Melissa Sorensen said. DAWNS focuses on families and helped its first family move into a house in September 2016.

Sorensen said sometimes even those with income struggle to find housing because some landlords are not willing to give them a chance or because they have a poor housing history. This is the first time landlords have agreed to work with the Salvation Army like this, she said.

“[The families] don’t need to have an income, they can have a poor housing history, they can have a criminal history,” Sorensen said. “None of that is factored in if they are eligible for the program.”

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Sorensen said the Salvation Army has provided case management in the past that helps families find units in the community for as long as they need it. But they have never been able to move people directly into units until now.

The Salvation Army assists families with paying the first couple months of rent. Once the family is stable, they graduate out of the program and pay on their own, Sorensen said. About six of the 17 families who have been helped by the program so far are paying their own rent and are self-sufficient, she said. 

“[DAWNS] has been successful so far, and we’re really hoping to be able to expand the program further and continue it on by providing affordable units,” Sorensen said.

Dane County is assisting with DAWNS’ funding, Sorensen said. The county is providing nearly $208,000, and the total amount of funding from all sources is about $300,000.

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Previously, the Salvation Army had 90-day semipermanent housing available, but they often had to turn families away because there was not enough room, County Supervisor Hayley Young, District 5, said. Now the Salvation Army’s focus has shifted to getting families into permanent housing, she said.

By converting into a rapid rehousing program and expanding its emergency overnight shelter space, no families have been turned away, Young said.

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“It’s a really positive thing for the county to be involved with,” Young said. “People are trying to find creative ways to build affordable housing in Dane County, and they are committed to working creatively with the resources we have available.”

Dane County Board approved a resolution earlier in February to end family homelessness in the area. The proposal looks to find redevelopment opportunities for homeless day resource centers. Young said there needs to be more affordable housing in the area.

Sorensen said having more affordable housing would be “huge” for the community.

“I think as a community we need more affordable housing,” Sorensen said. “I think that’s the biggest barrier for everyone — our vacancy rate is low and the apartments that are being created are often unaffordable for some of the people we work with.”

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Former UW professor’s lifetime dedication to science earns her honorary degree

9 hours 2 min ago

After studying for several years and spending time as a national administrator, Cora Marrett’s appreciation for her University of Wisconsin experience is still strong and reflected by the honorary degree she will receive from the university in May.

UW College of Letters and Science announced March 7 in a news release Marrett will be awarded an honorary degree for her work on science educational policy.

Marrett said UW faculty are not usually granted this kind of distinction. She said her work in a second career in academic advocacy made the recognition possible.

“I was surprised when I got the word that I was going to be receiving an honorary degree from the university,” Marrett said. “That surprise was because I know it’s not at all typical.”

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Marrett is being honored for her extensive work at the National Science Foundation, a government agency that provides funding and policy for science education and research across the country.

Marrett said the organization helps determine the direction of scientific research through funding; advocates for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in government; and works with universities and colleges.

“[It’s] all intended to advance research and education in science and engineering, because this is the nation’s premier place for supporting fundamental, basic research,” Marrett said.

At the National Science Foundation, Marrett served as director, deputy director and head of multiple agency directorates. She also received the foundation’s Distinguished Service Award.

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Marrett earned her bachelor’s degree from Virginia Union University, and her master’s and Ph.D. from UW. She served as a professor of sociology at UW from 1974 to 1997. Marrett became the provost of University of Massachusetts-Amherst after leaving UW, though she later returned to UW System as the senior vice president of academic affairs.

Marrett said her time at UW influenced her in more ways than one.

“I value greatly the education that I had, but I also value very much the kinds of interactions that I had with students during my time as a faculty member,” Marrett said. “Just as I had benefited from the excellent education I received, it was my idea, I wanted to also share that with the students I had known over the years.”

Marrett said her connections with UW were long and extensive, even though her role changed over time.

One of the most important parts of her UW graduate studies, Marrett said, was the university’s emphasis on the Wisconsin Idea.

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Marrett said she could see the Wisconsin Idea in the lives of instructors and administrators at Wisconsin. This opened many doors for people, she said.

“I had opportunities during my career as a faculty member to do things … that are all associated with this sense of a responsibility that as a graduate of the university, you were to have an outreach and share your knowledge, share your experiences and learn from the larger public of the things that would be important,” Marrett said.

Marrett said she ended up leaving UW for other career steps. She later retired from the National Science Foundation in 2014.

Marrett said she still values the Wisconsin Idea.

“I really do resonate and regard highly the opportunities that I had to understand both high-quality research and education, but high-quality research and education associated with the fulfillment of a public role,” Marrett said. “Those are the kinds of things that I got out of my university experience.”

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Categories: Local Media

Climate Reality Project aims to have UW running on renewable energy by 2030

9 hours 24 min ago

Across the globe, sea levels are rising, temperature extremes are occurring and people face more challenges throughout their daily lives. This is making the harsh nature of climate change more imminent.

But a new University of Wisconsin-Madison student organization is working to improve the earth’s climate.

Climate Reality Project Campus Corps has used the current situation as an opportunity to find ways to switch to clean energy solutions, such as wind and solar energy, project member and UW student Mary Pierce, said.

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Based on the nationwide Climate Reality Project, UW’s chapter aims to aid in the process of shifting energy consumption around the world to renewable energy.

To accomplish their goal on campus, Pierce said the organization is working on rallying student and administration support. They are currently working on a petition that demands UW’s administration switch to using 100 percent renewable energy on campus by 2030.

Madison City Council passed a proposal March 21 that aims to make the city 100 percent renewable by 2030.  Pierce said this could be inspiring for UW as well.

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University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point has already taken the same pledge and is paving the way for other UW schools to follow suit, Pierce said.

“The city making its first step towards renewables is fantastic, and I hope the university can use this momentum and stay close behind,” Pierce said.

Pierce said UW students can get involved in several ways to help make the university a more energy efficient place. But students need to be actively interested, which the organization aims to inspire them to be.

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Climate Reality Project Campus Corps holds meetings every Monday in Memorial Union. They also provide petitioning schedules and strategic planning group chats to further aid in gathering student support, Pierce said.

“It is definitely possible for our campus to run entirely on renewable energy,” Pierce said.

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Student finance committee ‘wholeheartedly rejects’ parts of Walker’s budget proposal

Mon, 03/27/2017 - 11:43pm

The Student Services Finance Committee met to discuss its first draft of recommendations for Gov. Scott Walker’s biennial budget proposal Monday.

SSFC expressed concerns on how the budget proposal would impact different student organizations.

Walker announced his biennial budget proposal Feb. 8. This proposal would decrease in-state tuition by 5 percent, which Walker said he believes shows a “strong commitment to higher education.”

One controversial aspect of the proposal was the ability to opt out of allocable segregated fees. Walker has said this will help students decide exactly what they want to fund.

This is how ASM lobbies for UW’s budgetAs Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed state budget moves through the state Legislature, Associated Students of Madison has one chief concern. That’s Read…

Committee Chair Colin Barushok and other SSFC members have worked to create their budget report to the chancellor. This report included the results of University of Wisconsin’s budget over the past year. It also included their recommendations of the state budget to the chancellor.

In the draft of its report to the chancellor, the committee expressed concern over Walker’s budget proposal.

Barushok started to draft out the concerns he will send to the chancellor, highlighting that students have the ability to decide what they want to fund through ASM and SSFC. The report also notes students who opt out of allocable fees could save money, but lose the services the fee supports.

“We wholeheartedly reject the governor’s suggestion that optimal allocable fees ‘will help students decide what they want to fund,'” the report said.

Student groups unite in effort to oppose contentious budget proposalUniversity of Wisconsin students considered what a future with reduced segregated fees would look like in light of a proposal Read…

Additionally, Barushok highlighted ASM’s fear that programming in the General Student Services Fund, which allocates money to free student services, could be in jeopardy if the allocable fees became optional. 

GSSF groups on campus include, but are not limited to, the Black Student Union, the Greater University Tutoring Services and Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment.

SSFC finished their report by requesting the chancellor’s continued solidarity. SSFC will continue discussing its recommendations and revisions to the report at their next meeting Thursday.

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Madison Police Department investigates suspicious downtown death

Mon, 03/27/2017 - 10:08pm

The Madison Police Department is investigating a man’s death on the 10 block of North Butler Street, which occurred around 4 p.m. Monday.

According to an incident report, investigators determined there were “suspicious circumstances” surrounding the death.

At a news conference Monday night, Police Chief Mike Koval confirmed the death was a homicide. Koval said details about the victim will not be revealed.

Koval said the victim’s roommate had been gone for the weekend. The roommate came back to a 24-unit apartment complex, found the man and then called the police.

At the time, Koval said MPD does not have a clearly established MO. Koval also said time of death is not clear.

Koval said there are currently police on the scene, continuing to investigate the incident.

MPD’s Violent Crime Unit is taking the lead in the investigation. Police have asked anyone with information to contact Madison Area Crime Stoppers at 266-6014.

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Categories: Local Media

Man arrested for shooting WKOW photojournalist with pellet gun

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 11:08pm

A photojournalist from WKOW caught himself in the crossfire Sunday after being shot by a pellet gun.

The employee of the ABC affiliate, 40-year-old Matthew Anderson, was covering a fire in the Town of Burke when 51-year-old Jeffery Lovick came out and shot him with a pellet gun.

According to a Dane County Sheriff’s Office news release, Lovick said he felt as if the photojournalist was “too close” to his property. Lovick was arrested Monday and charged with  endangering safety with the use of a dangerous weapon.

Anderson sustained minor injuries.

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Pocan introduces bipartisan bill in effort to alleviate student loan debt

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 9:06pm

In an effort to increase college affordability, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan introduced Tuesday the first bipartisan bill in the Trump Administration which would allows students to refinance their college loans at lower costs.

Titled the Student Loan Refinancing Act, the Madison Democrat’s bill would allow students to refinance their student loans whenever a lower interest rate becomes available.

According to a CNN report, the average amount of debt an undergraduate student faces is $30,100. More than $1.3 trillion in student loan debt is owed acrid 38 million students in the United States, making it the highest form of personal debt in the country.

Report finds drop in student loan debt at UWUniversity of Wisconsin students are increasingly graduating with either less overall student loan debt or no student loan debt at Read…

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said in a news release the bill will be a “financial relief” for millions of students and families.

“With college debt skyrocketing, Congress should be doing everything it can to help reduce the crushing burden of student debt,” Pocan said in a news release.

The Student Loan Refinancing Act will act as a mortgage or car loan. If a lower interest rate becomes available, then that is the interest rate that will apply for further payments rather than the student having to continue to pay the higher rate.

Walker announces UW Credit Union expansion in effort to alleviate student debt in WisconsinIn an effort to combat rising student debt in the state, Gov. Scott Walker announced University of Wisconsin Credit Union Read…

Scott Ross, executive director at One Wisconsin Now, said in a news release allowing students to refinance their loans in a system that’s “rigged against them” gives them a “shot at their piece of the American Dream.”

This act is more important now more than ever, Weingarten said.

Last week, President Donald Trump introduced a budget proposal that would reduce several federal aid grants. While the Pell Grant  will remain, its funds would be reduced by $3.9 billion.

The bipartisan bill is currently cosponsored by dozens of Democrats, including U.S Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse.

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Categories: Local Media

Dispute over panhandling spot lands one man in hospital, other in jail

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 7:19pm

After a dispute over a panhandling spot on the 500 block of State Street, Madison Police Department arrested a 43-year-old man Sunday on tentative charges of battery.

According to the incident report, the suspect, William Siler, allegedly sent a 59-year-old victim to the hospital after the victim told Siler to move from his spot. An eye witness told police Siler then proceeded to push the victim to the wall and punch him “nearly a dozen” times.

The witness added the victim’s head was “bouncing off of the wall” as Siler continued hitting him.

The victim was sent to the hospital for multiple head injuries.

MPD Chief Koval speaks out about new city panhandling ordinanceThe Madison City Council passed an ordinance that limits how long pedestrians can stand on highway medians at their Feb. 7 meeting Read…

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