WAA Chapter Leader Handbook


Chapters play an increasingly significant role in supporting UW–Madison’s priorities and initiatives. In-state chapters provide a vital network for grassroots legislative advocacy. Chapters nationwide assist WAA and the UW Department of Athletics with special events, media relations, and community support for Badger athletics matches hosted by the UW, Big Ten Conference, and NCAA. And alumni chapters are a key resource for WFAA development staff who identify and engage potential donors and university supporters.

Overall, WAA chapters:

  • Encourage alumni to support UW–Madison with time, talent, and treasure
  • Spread the message of the UW to everyone in your community — alumni and all others
  • Participate in WFAA’s Annual Campaign
  • Capture and translate the voices of local alumni back to the UW and WFAA

Founders’ Day

Since 1924, Founders’ Day has been one of the biggest events of the year for many chapters. These celebrations commemorate the first classes held at the University of Wisconsin on February 5, 1849. They send UW faculty experts, staff, and alumni — in true Wisconsin Idea fashion — to highlight the world-class education and cutting-edge research that the UW is known for. Founders’ Days provide alumni with the opportunity to better understand the continuing academic excellence of the university and to feel connected to and proud of how it positively affects communities around the world. Alumni also attend the event as an opportunity to connect with other Badgers and to praise and recognize fellow alumni who have earned a Badger of the Year Award by making a significant impact on their community.

Try these suggestions for planning and hosting a successful Founders’ Day celebration:

  • Don’t plan alone: enlist as many volunteers as you can
  • Select a topic that matches the interests of your chapter community
  • Consider selecting your Badger of the Year Award recipient as your speaker
  • Submit your Founders’ Day celebration information to WFAA at least eight weeks prior to your event

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The chapter scholarship program offers UW–Madison alumni an easy way to give back to their alma mater. Since 1967, chapters have awarded more than $10 million in scholarships to nearly 5,000 UW students. The deadlines for submitting scholarship awardees are July 1 and December 1.

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Training and Professional Development

WFAA believes that training is an important component of success for alumni volunteers. WFAA develops volunteers through conferences, webinars, online training, one-on-one mentoring, coaching, and staff expertise and support.

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