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Category: Community

‘Some come every single day’: Wisconsin college students’ use of campus food pantries soars this year

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A ribbon-cutting event for a former storage room marked a milestone for Milwaukee Area Technical College.

MATC converted the small space at its Walker’s Square campus into a food pantry that opened Tuesday. It’s the last of MATC’s five campuses to open a food pantry for students, all of which launched within the last year.

The pantries couldn’t have come at a better time.

Soaring food costs have college students feeling the pinch. The need is especially great at Walker’s Square, which is on the near south side in the heart of Milwaukee’s Latino community. Many students at the campus are enrolled in the GED or English as a Second Language programs while working minimum wage jobs that don’t provide enough to cover rent, gas, groceries and other expenses.

What we heard surveying and listening to Wisconsin voters: Substance and civility matter, the people and their politicians have major disconnects

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: The survey is not a scientific poll, and its results cannot be generalized to the entire population of Wisconsin, but the responses do provide a snapshot of what was on the mind of voters during the survey period from June 28 to Nov. 8. The project is a collaboration of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (and USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin papers), Wisconsin Public Radio and the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Rash of illnesses among Wisconsin kids keeping caregivers home from work

Quoted: Laura Dresser, associate director of COWS, a University of Wisconsin-Madison think-tank, said there’s also been a fundamental change in how employers and employees navigate illness.

“There is this thing that’s changed about what we do when we’re sick, when our kids are sick, what our child cares will accept or tolerate when our kids are sick,” Dresser said. “I think people send their kids or themselves to school or work sick less often than we used to.”

She expects people having more access to sick time hasn’t had a major impact in their decision to take time off.

“The fact that more workers get paid now when they’re sick than used to makes it slightly more likely that they’ll stay home,” Dresser said. “But even in the olden days, they stayed home when their kid was sick, they just didn’t get paid.”

Center for Black Excellence in Madison will celebrate Black culture in Wisconsin

Noted: My mother moved to Madison from Chicago just over 50 years ago to pursue a college degree and provide a brighter future for my sister and me. The Gee family now consists of three generations of University of Wisconsin-Madison graduates. The university, and a small but thriving community of Black UW alumni, offered opportunities, resources and friendships that allowed us to create lives of unlimited promise, rooted in Black excellence and Black culture.

Here’s how Wisconsin teachers are combatting political divisiveness in classrooms

Wisconsin State Journal

A hands-on simulation called PurpleState being used for research at UW-Madison’s School of Education aims to give students experience in dissecting political messaging and discourse.

Lack of units in Madison, ever-growing population results in racial disparities in housing

Madison Commons

Quoted: University of Wisconsin–Madison urban planning professor Kurt Paulsen describes the overarching narrative in Dane County as a shortage of housing, which means prices are rising and affordability will continue to be a struggle in Madison.

“On the extreme end, people who have [lower] income spend more than 50% of their income on rent,” said Paulsen. “You see people being doubled up [which] is overcrowding the housing. Young people can’t afford to buy a starter home. You see homelessness and of course it manifests itself in tremendous racial disparities in housing burdens and homeownership.”

Suzanne Eckes, a professor of education and law at UW-Madison, said she understands the “sense of urgency around many of these issues” given her own background as a classroom teacher. “Having been a former public high school teacher, I know the stakes are high and feel that I can speak to this group — I don’t want to say more easily than others — but I understand a lot of the issues, and having been a practicing attorney can kind of break down some of the legalese into what do you need to know? What are the key takeaways from a specific case or a regulation or federal or state law?” Eckes said.

The Capital Times

The UW-Madison School of Education hosted an event this fall meant to help teachers facing these challenges in classrooms.

Suzanne Eckes, a professor of education and law at UW-Madison, said she understands the “sense of urgency around many of these issues” given her own background as a classroom teacher.

“Having been a former public high school teacher, I know the stakes are high and feel that I can speak to this group — I don’t want to say more easily than others — but I understand a lot of the issues, and having been a practicing attorney can kind of break down some of the legalese into what do you need to know? What are the key takeaways from a specific case or a regulation or federal or state law?” Eckes said.

“It placed a hunger in me.” UW Odyssey Project celebrates 20 years of changing lives

Madison 365

The potential for adults returning to school to reach goals of obtaining degrees and knowledge is often most affected by external factors that can make everyday life and returning to academics a difficult balance. The UW Odyssey Project is a remedy to that problem, and over their 20 years working to bring adults to higher education, they have gone the extra mile every time.

The Odyssey Project started in 2002 and quickly started changing lives. Acting as an avenue for adults to return to higher education through the resources and knowledge that run throughout UW-Madison has allowed the Odyssey Project to serve a plethora of people each year to achieve their academic, career, and personal goals. A celebration at the UW-Memorial Union was only fitting.

Showing up to vote is only the first step in ensuring Black voices are heard by politicians

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: More than 2,150 people have taken the Main Street Agenda survey. Overall, the future of democracy is the No. 1 concern followed by climate change and abortion. The survey is not a scientific poll, and its results cannot be generalized to the entire population of Wisconsin, but the responses do provide a snapshot of what’s on the minds of voters this fall.

As part of the collaboration of Wisconsin Public Radio, the La Follette School of Public Affairs at University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Ideas Lab, we’ve held two events in Milwaukee as well as town halls in Pewaukee and Green Bay. The final event will be Nov. 1 in Wausau.

Students scramble to find housing as rentals fill up for next school year

The Capital Times

At 12:01 a.m. — the exact time Aberdeen Apartments opened for leases Oct. 6 — property manager Kelly Whitkins saw 162 applications flood in.

The level of interest was something Whitkins has never seen before in the 18 years she’s worked at the building, which is predominantly leased by students and located near the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

$16 million in grants will support maternal and infant health initiatives across Wisconsin

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Gov. Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced a $16 million, statewide investment Wednesday to improve maternal and infant health, especially among people of color.

The funding, largely made possible through the American Rescue Plan Act, will be split between the state health department’s Maternal and Child Health program, the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Healthier Wisconsin Endowment and the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Medicine and Public Health. Each entity will receive $5.5 million.

The MCW endowment fund and UW-Madison will use the funding to also support community grants for programs that focus on the social conditions that contribute to racial disparities in Wisconsin’s maternal and infant mortality rates.

Madison’s co-op living: from Fellowship Farm to the future

The Capital Times

According to Sparer, Madison has long been a hub for housing co-ops due to Wisconsin’s well-defined cooperative laws and interest from UW-Madison students.

Hypatia itself is an example of Madison’s long cooperative history. Hypatia began in 1943 as Groves Womens’ Co-op, founded by UW-Madison students looking for an affordable alternative to sorority housing. Before moving buildings a few times and eventually changing its name, the co-op was originally named after Professor Harold Groves, an advocate for cooperatives and a shareholding member of a more political project: Fellowship Farm.

UW Odyssey Project turns 20: Grads recount how it’s changed their lives

Wisconsin State Journal

Around 30 people are accepted into the Odyssey Project each year and are registered as a special class of part-time UW-Madison students. It includes a six-credit course in the humanities, split over two semesters, for people who are low-income or facing other barriers to education. Approximately 95% of students are people of color.

Taught on Wednesday nights on Madison’s South Side, the program provides child care (dubbed Odyssey Junior), and students are fed a full meal before the start of class.

After bumpy start, Madison school lunches are improving with staff raises

Wisconsin State Journal

Because of the pay increase, Madison is now one of the highest-paid districts in the state. It previously lagged behind other districts.

“I think that that’s a really, really great thing that the district has done,” said Jennifer Gaddis with the UW-Madison School of Human Ecology, who has been working with the district to improve its food service program.

Wisconsin’s 46 Most Influential Latino Leaders, Part 5

Madison 365

Jair Alvarez is a litigation attorney providing corporate and criminal law counsel and representation in Madison, operating his own practice since graduating from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2014. As a law school student, he volunteered at the National Immigrant Justice Center.

Luz del Carmen Arroyo Calderon is Retention Initiatives and Student Engagement (RISE) Student Success Manager at Madison College. She grew up in a small town in Mexico and was 12 when she moved to Milwaukee with her mom. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010 and taught in the Madison Metropolitan School District as a Bilingual Resource Specialist, Bilingual Resource Teacher and Dual Language Immersion Teacher until 2017, when she joined the staff at Madison College.

Kattia Jimenez is the owner of Mount Horeb Hemp LLC, a USDA certified organic hemp farm. She is a host of the Hemp Can Do It podcast and is a guest lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural & Life Sciences.

Storytellers share pieces of themselves at Madison Moth GrandSLAM Championship

Isthmus

Last December, Danielle Hairston Green took the stage in front of a roomful of strangers and told a witty, passionate story about “leaping and soaring” to overcome life’s obstacles. Not only did she receive raucous applause, but she also won that night’s monthly themed StorySLAM at the High Noon Saloon, sponsored by The Moth Madison.

On Oct. 14, Hairston Green will join nine other area storytellers at The Barrymore Theatre to compete in the first in-person Madison Moth GrandSLAM Championship since October 2019.

“It’s important for people to find a home to not only share their thoughts and experiences, but to do so in a space that’s nonjudgmental and where people are vulnerable,” says Hairston Green, who is director for the Human Development and Relationships Institute in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension. “Sometimes at StorySLAMS, you’re in front of people you’ve never met and may never see again, and that’s a freeing experience.”

Hopeful tenants camp out overnight for affordable housing in Madison

NBC-15

Within the line of tents, sleeping bags, and blankets, some UW-Madison students say they are waiting for J Michael Real Estate to open at 9 a.m. Hopeful tenants say they started lining up almost 24 hours before then because Friday is the first day applications are accepted and it’s on a first come, first serve basis.

Milwaukee’s Sophie Shapiro is at Madison Hillel – new student life associate wants to help others connect

The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Whatever college students want Madison Hillel to be, Sophie Shapiro is here to make it happen.  

The 22-year-old graduate of University of Minnesota took on the job of student life associate at the Jewish campus organization at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  

She looks forward to helping students “cultivate their own Jewish identity outside of what they had with their parents. This is my favorite thing in the world, and it’s exciting that I get to now do this full time.”  

Brenda González named Woman of Excellence in Community Choice Awards

Madison 365

University of Wisconsin Director of Community Relations Brenda González has been chosen by voters as the 2022 Woman of Excellence in the Wisconsin Leadership Community Choice Awards.

As director of community relations, González serves as UW-Madison’s primary point of contact with local community and nonprofit organizations. She is responsible for developing strategies to ensure the university is engaged with these organizations and the broader community.

As northeast Wisconsin diversifies, students of color use tools like code-switching to navigate their own identity and community

Green Bay Press-Gazette

Quoted: In her research on multilingual and English learners, University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Mariana Pacheco said children as young as 6 or 7 can pick up on the double standard that white, English-dominant students can be placed in a bilingual classroom and be celebrated for their bilingualism, while the same isn’t true for their Spanish-dominant counterparts.

As someone who studies language, Pacheco has always been fascinated with how people who are bilingual learn social knowledge by living in the margins between cultures. Having to code-switch can teach them how society and power function.

“We shouldn’t forget that that consciousness is a resource for them,” she said.

She hopes it serves them in the careers they pursue someday and the policies they support, but perhaps what she admires most is the way they keep trying in the face of resistance.

“They’re not paralyzed by it,” she said.

Wisconsin’s 46 Most Influential Latino Leaders 2022, Part 1

Madison 365

Noted: Patty Cisneros Prevo is Diversity & Inclusion Manager at the University of Wisconsin School of Business Undergraduate Program. She previously served as Assistant Director of Inclusion & Engagement with Wisconsin Athletics, where she assisted in the development and execution of the DEI Strategic Plan and created programs and initiatives to support a more diverse and inclusive Athletics Department. She’s also won five National Wheelchair Basketball Association Championships, and became the first female head coach of a collegiate wheelchair basketball team with the University of Illinois, winning the national championship that same year.

Recovery programs seek to solve food waste — and insecurity — in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Watch

Driving a university-owned van, University of Wisconsin-Madison student Morgan Barlin traverses the campus, making stops at three dining halls on a spring afternoon.

At each stop, Barlin is met by kitchen staff who present her with various leftover foods, from sweet potatoes to breakfast omelets. These foods, which would have otherwise been thrown away, will be redistributed to students at no cost.

At the end of her route, Barlin records the weight of each donation. Her calculations show that on this day, she saved 271 pounds of food from ending up in the landfill. Barlin’s organization, the Food Recovery Network at the UW-Madison, uses the recovered food to provide free community meals.

Beyond efforts on the UW-Madison campus, other programs in Wisconsin intercept still-edible food from grocery and convenience stores and restaurants that would normally be heading to the dumpster. In Madison, The River Food Pantry operates a food recovery program that collects food from more than 100 stores around Dane County.

Recovery programs seek to solve food waste – and insecurity – in Wisconsin

Channel 3000

Driving a university-owned van, University of Wisconsin-Madison student Morgan Barlin traverses the campus, making stops at three dining halls on a spring afternoon.  

At each stop, Barlin is met by kitchen staff who present her with various leftover foods, from sweet potatoes to breakfast omelets. These foods, which would have otherwise been thrown away, will be redistributed to students at no cost.  

At the end of her route, Barlin records the weight of each donation. Her calculations show that on this day, she saved 271 pounds of food from ending up in the landfill. Barlin’s organization, the Food Recovery Network at the UW-Madison, uses the recovered food to provide free community meals.

Mobile markets bring fresh food to Wisconsin customers

Wisconsin Watch

Quoted: But mobile markets can struggle to stay financially afloat. One researcher who has studied mobile markets for over a decade likens them to “revolving doors” because of how frequently mobile market projects start up and then stall.

“There’s often funding to start them,” said Lydia Zepeda, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor. “The question is trying to find a model that is financially sustainable — because they’re expensive.”

Providers agree screening adults for anxiety is a good idea. But who would provide the mental health care?

Green Bay Press-Gazette

Noted: Even before the pandemic, nearly 20% of adults in Wisconsin had mental health needs, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. That percentage translated to about 830,000 people.

At about the same time — again, before the pandemic — a report by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute found significant coverage gaps across the state. The report said 55 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties had “significant shortages” of psychiatrists and 31 counties need more than two additional full-time psychiatrists to make up for the shortage.

On the other hand, some worry the mental health care workforce just isn’t there to support the spate of new patients who’ll test positive for anxiety disorders.

“I support it,” said Dr. Marcia Slattery, professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at University of Wisconsin-Madison and director of UW Anxiety Disorders Program. “Anxiety is the most prevalent psychiatric disorder and impacts life globally. The fact that it’s so widespread and there’s really been no coordinated effort to address it, I’m in support of what they’re proposing.”

After organizations condemn antisemitic chalkings, UW-Madison administrators report they are working to educate Students for Justice in Palestine

The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

University of Wisconsin-Madison administrators are working to educate members of Students for Justice in Palestine on the harm caused by their antisemitic messages, after the messages were chalked around campus overnight before the first day of the fall 2022 semester, according to officials. 

After a year of being bullied, her son wanted to be white. Why depression and anxiety loom larger for children of color.

Green Bay Press-Gazette

Quoted: Dr. Patricia Tellez-Giron, family medicine physician at UW Health, associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine at University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and Latino Health Council chair, has been practicing family medicine for 25 years. In that time, she’s been able to uniquely observe intergenerational care as her patients grow from infancy into new family systems as adults.

Tellez-Giron said it’s common, especially for Hispanic or Latino children, to be split between two cultures, which can feel like navigating two worlds simultaneously. This speaks to an absence in diverse counselors, Tellez-Giron said, and specifically, culturally competent counselors — that is, health care providers who understand and can uplift a client’s cultural identity.

“Often, the therapist does not understand our culture, why we are protective, how we all raise the kids together,” Tellez-Giron said. “And then (the therapists) tell the kids, ‘You have to be independent. You have to demand your independence.’ That creates, definitely, tension in the family.”

Watch Why Race Matters Ep. 2: Higher Education

PBS Wisconsin

A college degree can be an important step for starting a career, but many colleges and universities struggle to create a welcoming environment for students of color. Angela Fitzgerald sits down with Tiffany Tardy from All-In Milwaukee, a nonprofit working to improve college retention and graduation rates for students from underserved communities.

Tardy is the Program Director for All-In Milwaukee, an organization providing financial aid, advising, program and career support for limited-income college students from the Milwaukee area. She has a Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Wisconsin Watch joins national project to help fight misinformation, preserve democracy

Editor & Publisher

Wisconsin Watch is joining a nationwide project led by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers that aims to protect democracy by limiting the spread and impact of misinformation.

With a newly announced $5 million award from the National Science Foundation’s Convergence Accelerator program, researchers will continue development of Course Correct, a tool designed at the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication to help journalists identify and combat misinformation online.

Headstone dedication for first Black woman to attend Marquette University Law School

TMJ4

Before the legendary Vel Phillips accomplished her many firsts in the City of Milwaukee and Wisconsin, there was Mabel Emily Watson Raimey.

Raimey was the first African American woman to graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She earned a B.A. in English in 1918 and was the first African American woman to attend Marquette University Law School. There is a marker at 11th and Wisconsin honoring her.

How did the pandemic amplify health inequities? Wisconsin Leadership Summit panel will dig into it

Madison 365

Danielle Yancey will moderate a panel titled “Lasting Impacts: How the Pandemic has Amplified our Health Inequities” on Tuesday, October 11, the second day of the 2022 Wisconsin Leadership Summit.

Danielle Yancey (Menominee/Santee) has worked in public service for nearly twenty years focusing on programs that promote social justice, education access, and equity. Currently, she serves as the director for the Native American Center for Health Professions at the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Danielle grew up on the Menominee Indian reservation in north central Wisconsin. She is an alumna of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with undergraduate degrees in women’s studies and social welfare, Master of Science in urban and regional planning, and holds a sustainability leadership graduate certificate from Edgewood College.

UW-Madison Art Professionals Support Black Artists’ Demands for MMoCA

WORT FM

Thursday afternoon, a group of alumni, faculty and students from UW-Madison’s art and art history departments will read an open letter outside the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.

They’ll be there to protest the mistreatment of artists during this year’s Wisconsin Triennial exhibition, which was the first Triennial in the museum’s history to focus exclusively on the experiences of Black women, femmes, and gender non-conforming artists.

The U.S. pours money into health care, then holds back on social services. But those services often can do more to improve health.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

What Amy Kind observed during her residency as a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston often frustrated and angered her.

She could admit a poor person to the hospital again and again, each time potentially costing tens of thousands of dollars.

“Yet changing someone’s ability to have safe housing — even getting an air conditioner for someone with breathing problems — was not something I could do,” said Kind, now a professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

“Sifting and Reckoning” exhibit grapples with racist history of UW

Madison 365

Today, a new exhibit is being opened to the public at the Chazen Museum of Art on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. The culmination of multiple years of research and planning, the UW-Madison Public History Project exhibit looks to ask questions about the real history of UW-Madison itself. The Public History Project looks to give voice to a lesser-known history of UW-Madison through students, staff, and associates of the university who have been affected by marginalization across identities.

Urban or rural, many in Wisconsin live in grocery ‘food deserts’

Wisconsin Watch

Noted: Danielle Nabak is the healthy communities coordinator for the University of Wisconsin Extension Milwaukee County’s FoodWIse program. Like some other experts, she prefers the term food apartheid to food deserts because of histories including redlining, economic disinvestment and freeway expansions that isolated marginalized communities.

“I think that really gets at more of the active disinvestment and the active oppression that occurred to create the conditions that we’re really talking about when we talk about a food desert,” Nabak said.

UW-Madison center offers resources to immigrants living without documentation across the state

Wisconsin Public Radio

As a teenager in the 1990s, Erika Rosales moved from a small town in Mexico to Madison. Then, as she grew older, her immigration status risked creating barriers for her education and work.

Rosales now leads The Center for DREAMers at UW-Madison, which provides resources to immigrants living without documentation across the state.

“I’m happy that I’m at a point where I can support others that have a similar story,” she said.

In October, Rosales collaborated with Erin Barbato, director of the Immigrant Justice Clinic at the UW-Madison Law School, to create the DREAMers center. It’s funded by a two-year grant offered from the university.

“We will never turn someone away if they are undocumented,” Barbato said. “If someone contacts a school and says, ‘I want to apply for this program’ — whether it’s law school or medical school — those administrators can contact us for the information before giving someone incorrect information or the runaround.”

Local docs launch Medical Organization for Latino Advancement Wisconsin chapter

Madison 365

The Latino community is the fastest-growing segment of the population in Wisconsin, but the number of physicians from that community has been declining nationwide over the past 30 years. Fewer than five percent of physicians in the US identify as Hispanic or Latino.

“We know in medicine that if you see a physician that looks like you, that understands culturally where you’re coming from, the health outcomes are better,” UW Health family physician Dr. Patricia Tellez-Girón told Madison365. “But we need to start growing our own because we don’t see that the society at large is really aiming for that.”

Calling all young artists: Wisconsin goaltender Cami Kronish wants you to design her mask.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Thanks to Cami Kronish, art and hockey will merge.

The senior goaltender for the Wisconsin women’s hockey team has invited fans entering the eighth grade or younger to design the mask she’ll wear during the upcoming season.

The mask design should incorporate the University of Wisconsin, city of Madison and state of Wisconsin on all three sides. The deadline for entries is Sept. 1, 2022.