Extension Conference Centers
Mike Siwek’s UW-Extension colleagues know him as the go-to guy when their Pyle Center customers need help ranging from replacing equipment to changing the room set-up. As the Madison conference center custodial supervisor, Mike Siwek knows what to do – even when it’s going to rain on a rooftop gathering.
His American Red Cross friends know him as a guy who responds “Heck, yeah!” when asked to help others in need – even if that means heading into a hurricane.
Siwek is back at work after two weeks volunteering with the Red Cross helping residents affected by Hurricane Isaac in Louisiana.
“Driving down I didn’t know what to expect, since this was only my second national deployment,” said Siwek, recounting his recent two-week volunteer stint with the American Red Cross to help those in New Orleans affected by Hurricane Isaac.
“And then we hit the hurricane. It was quite the experience. It made landfall twice, and it was kind of scary. The wind was whipping and the rain was very heavy,” he said. “There were roadblocks as we got close, but they’d let us through because we were emergency personnel.”
The local Southern Baptist Convention kitchens cooked 470,000 meals, which Siwek and other American Red Cross volunteers transported to neighborhoods in need in the region.
Most residents of this region had been evacuated to shelters or made their way to homes of relatives out of harm’s way, so the damage Siwek saw after the hurricane was to property. “Things were just piled up. We saw displaced graves and tombstones, and dead animals. It all smelled really bad. Beautiful antebellum mansions floated to the middle of the street,” he said. “It didn’t take very long for these people to lose everything they had.”
Now Siwek is eager for his next volunteer assignment.
“The Red Cross is a nonprofit that’s pretty cool. We help anybody at any time. And while hurricane season is just about over, floods, tornados and fires can happen anytime,” he said. “So we’re anywhere there can be a disaster.”
To learn more about volunteering for the American Red Cross, contact your local chapter.
A record crowd cheered the Chancellor’s Awards recipients Sept. 20, 2012, at the Pyle Center in Madison. Chancellor Ray Cross encouraged the audience of more than 200 to show their support for colleagues. They did so by standing up and applauding and sometimes hooting and hollering as he called off names for the awards detailed in the news release.
The chancellor talked about their vision, creativity, caring, dedication, service, advocacy, partnerships, leadership and impacts. One of the larger teams honored was the Wisconsin Operation Military Kids State Team, which includes members of the military. They received a snappy salute from the chancellor, a Vietnam veteran.
In a more playful moment, the chancellor hopped up on a wooden step so that he could see eye to eye with Sen. Dale Schultz, by far the tallest of several elected officials who honored award recipients with their presence and, in some cases, with a citation.
Before the photo session (find downloadable photos here) and a reception in the Pyle Center’s Alumni Lounge, the chancellor also reminded the audience: “This coming year, if you believe an individual or team deserves a Chancellor’s Award, please nominate them.”
Watch for a link to the nomination guidelines and nomination form in March 2013 in this News & Ideas blog.
The intended audience ranges from UW-Extension staff wanting to learn more about the potential of technology in their work to those who already are heavy users and would be interested in more advanced topics such as responsive design in Drupal.
Conference attendance will be free. In-person participation will be limited by the space; however, Instructional Communications Systems will broadcast portions of the conference live for remote viewing and archive those for later viewing.
Participants will be invited to propose technology presentations for the conference to explain, for example, how they built an app or how they used an iPad to edit video. Guidelines will be posted and presentation proposals accepted starting in late August or early September.
Conference details, as available, will be posted on the Infusing Technology Throughout Extension site at: http://tech.uwex.edu/
Conference committee members include Ed Murphy, Greg Johll, Eddie Loo, Rovy Branon and Chris Viau.
UW-Extension is participating in the Summer Affirmative Action Intern Program, with 15 interns throughout the state. Stephanie Endres of the UW Colleges and UW-Extension Office of Inclusion welcomed the seven who attended a June 19, 2012, seminar presented by the Office of State Employment Relations for them and dozens of other interns from state agencies.
They picked up tips from speakers who formerly were interns, such as Tracey Caradine, now a policy initiative advisor with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. Tips like the following from Caradine also would apply to student employees.
- Swagger is important. You control how you want people to see you. Exude confidence but do not seem conceited.
- Remember that this is your job, your career. The goal is to build yourself up. Never sell yourself short or dumb yourself down.
- There is no such thing as being bored. Make the most of your assignments. If you have nothing else to do, ask for more.
- Brush up on your agency or project, just in case you’re asked about it at a meeting. You don’t want to look clueless.
- Make sure to get a copy of your position description. Look at what your supervisor wants you to do, compare it to what you are doing and keep note of your tasks.
- Update your resume as you complete tasks or assignments. Don’t embellish but use language to expand on tasks. Filing, for example, can be explained as “coordinating and organizing statutorily mandated documents for usage and referencing by the public, public organizations and public officials.”
- Find value in what you are doing. Remember that you put in what you get out of this experience.
Before you travel during inclement weather, call 511 or check your route on this map to find current road conditions from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
UW Colleges and UW-Extension employees who need to meet work requirements in Madison but want to avoid hazardous winter driving conditions can find lodging at The Lowell Center, 610 Langdon St., Madison. As a University of Wisconsin-Extension conference center, The Lowell Center offers not only rooms for meetings but lodging – including lodging at the special rate of $49 per night, with $12 for an additional person, whenever there is bad weather.
Throughout the year, lodging at The Lowell Center is intended for those attending conferences or other related events associated with UW academic departments and administrative units; university-related agencies (such as the UW-Madison Alumni Association, UW Foundation and Friends of Wisconsin Public Television); local, state and federal governmental agencies; American Indian Tribal Nations or others traveling on business related to these entities. Visiting alumni and parents of students also are always welcome to book rooms at the center, as are visitors in Madison for campus events.
For reservations, call (608) 256-2621 or the toll free number, (866) 301-1753, or register online.
When the national debt is the subject on the table, the discussion could degenerate into a food fight. That didn’t happen when 18 people brainstormed solutions during a forum co-sponsored by UW-Extension and UW Colleges’ Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service (WIPPS) and the Office of Inclusion Dec. 6 at the Pyle Center in Madison.
Most favored a balanced approach to reigning in debt that would include reinstating taxes for the wealthiest Americans and cutting some government spending in the military and in other areas, say Eric Giordano, WIPPS program director.
The forum about the $14 trillion hole in Uncle Sam’s pocket was the fourth in a series of deliberative dialogues sponsored by WIPPS around the state. Other “A Nation in Debt” dialogues were in Wausau, West Bend and Fond du Lac. The format requires participants to weigh costs and benefits of various approaches to solving problems and helps people understand how others view those costs and benefits. The Kettering Institute and the National Issues Forum are compiling input from Wisconsin forums and others around the country to share with Congress.
For information on how to participate in or host a deliberation please contact WIPPS Project Coordinator Ian Reese at email@example.com or 715-261-6369.
One: Escalating political partisanship and dwindling citizen involvement led UW Colleges and UW-Extension to create the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service (WIPPS) in 2008 to help revitalize democratic life through community outreach, a faculty focus on public scholarship, service learning, deliberation and civic engagement.
Two: WIPPS’ current work includes nonpartisan discussions on the national debt. The format helps participants weigh costs and benefits of various solutions and understand how others view those costs and benefits. The news release provides details about the Dec. 6 dialogue in Madison and includes an invitation to contact WIPPS about hosting a similar event at another site.
Three: The director is Eric Giordano, firstname.lastname@example.org, 715-261-6388, who regretfully is not available to ensure civil discourse at your Thanksgiving dinner.