History of Student Activism at UW-Madison

Check out my individual story website! This site is the final product of a lot of hard work this semester in my Journalism class. Here’s my home page for a teaser to the whole project:

Courtesy of University of Wisconsin Digital Collections

Courtesy of University of Wisconsin Digital Collections

“History means above all the lives of ordinary people”- Paul Buhle, History and the New Left

Throughout my interviews and research for this project, I have encountered many truly inspiring people. Talking to community activists and students, I have learned about the cultural, social, economic and political motivations for activism over the years and how they have changed in the campus and Madison communities.

I set out hoping to find some general trends and answer the question: has student activism increased or decreased over time? Well, it is really not that simple. In fact, there is no good answer to that question.

I chose this topic because I have been involved in campus activism and wanted to take a look at it from an outside perspective. I wanted to learn more about Madison’s deep roots in activism to inform others but also to learn how to be a better, active student myself.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is my university, along with every other student who attends here. We can decide what the university means to us and what we want from our experience here.

I would like to thank Paul Soglin, David Williams, John Peck, Adam Porton, Connie Flanagan, Allen Ruff, Leslie Amsterdam, Tina-Treviño Murphy and Leland Pan for taking the time to have an interview with me and/or leading me to great information and motivating ideas.

While I have a final product to showcase the work I’ve done, this project is far from over. Constantly changing and adapting, student activism is always something to learn about, read about and share with others. History is infinite and this is just a step in the doorway.


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