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The Northwoods

Alumni College

This year’s Alumni College retreat offers you the chance to join fellow alumni and friends in learning how UW–Madison innovation is enriching the state, country, and world. At Alumni College, opportunities await to attend presentations about the histories of Wisconsin’s Indigenous peoples, the impact of climate change on the Northwoods, the influence of state government on American democracy, and the social-biological causes of health disparities. Then, enjoy field trips in the Minocqua area. Choose from the sections below to learn more about this informative, all-inclusive weekend getaway in the beautiful Wisconsin Northwoods.

Alumni College is an exclusive event for Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA) members. Not a member?Learn more about the benefits of WAA membership and join the community where Badgers belong!

What can I expect?

In addition to staying in a private resort, this exclusive weekend getaway includes all meals, beverages, receptions, presentations by UW faculty, relaxation opportunities, and more. For information about each day’s activities, please see the full schedule below.

Full Schedule

Sunday, Aug. 28

3–5 p.m.: Check-in
5 p.m.: Welcome reception
6:30 p.m.: Strolling supper
8 p.m.: Meet Alumni College faculty
8:30 p.m.: At your leisure 

Monday, Aug. 29

7:30 a.m.: Breakfast buffet
9:00 a.m.: “Indigenous Peoples: Landscapes and Stories” with Professor Brian McInnes
10:30 a.m.: “Climate, Carbon, and Forests: The Changing Northwoods” with Professor Ankur

12 p.m.: Lunch
1:30 p.m.: Kemp Natural Resources Station tour
3:30 p.m.: At your leisure — recreational activities available at Red Crown Lodge; trip to Minocqua
5:30 p.m.: Reception
6:30 p.m.: Dinner
8 p.m.: At your leisure

Tuesday, Aug. 30

7:30 a.m.: Breakfast buffet
8:30 a.m.: Yoga (optional)
10:30 a.m.: “The Role of State Institutions in American Democracy” with Associate Professor Miriam Seifter and Associate Professor Robert Yablon ’99
12 p.m.: Lunch
1:30 p.m.: “The UW Center for Health Disparities Research: Linking Cells to Communities” with Professor Amy Kind ’96, MD’01, PhD’11
3 p.m.: At your leisure — recreational activities available at Red Crown Lodge; trip to Minocqua
5:30 p.m.: Reception
6:30 p.m.: BBQ cookout
8 p.m.: At your leisure with s’mores and campfires

Wednesday, Aug. 31

8:30 a.m.: Breakfast buffet
11:30 a.m.: Checkout

Schedule and activities subject to change

Cost per person

  • $1300 (includes lodging for three nights)
  • $750 for commuters (does not include lodging)

Event registrants must review WFAA’s event participation waiver prior to registration, including its liability release and waiver agreement. Read the full text of the releases and waivers.

Program Information

Indigenous Peoples: Landscapes and Stories

Brian McInnes
Leola R. Culver Professor in Nonprofits and Philanthropy; associate professor, UW–Madison’s School of Human Ecology
Monday, Aug. 20 | 9:00 a.m.

As an enrolled member of the Ojibwe nation and direct descendant of the Wisconsin Potawatomi tribe, Brian McInnes is committed to building opportunities for increased intercultural understanding, collaboration, and critical change. He principally works in community-based language revitalization, oral history, and educational anthropology. His current research is focused on culture and language revitalization initiatives in northern Wisconsin, holistic program evaluation for Indigenous language immersion schools, and environmental change education. McInnes received his bachelor’s degree in Indigenous studies and linguistic anthropology from Trent University and his bachelor of education degree from Lakehead University. He received his master of environmental science degree from York University and his doctorate of education from the University of Minnesota–Duluth. His 2017 book, Sounding Thunder: The Stories of Francis Pegahmagabow, won both an American Book Award and a Fred Landon Award for its portrayal of North America’s most decorated Indigenous soldier from the First World War.

Climate, Carbon, and Forests: The Changing Northwoods

Ankur Desai
Reid Bryson Professor of Climate, People, and Environment, Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research; chair and professor, UW–Madison’s Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
Monday, Aug. 29 | 10:30 a.m.

Ankur Desai’s lab studies ecosystems, weather, and climate. This work spans the globe and uses both long-term observations in nature and advanced computer simulations. He received his bachelor’s degree in computer science and environmental studies from Oberlin College, a master’s degree in geography from the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, and a doctorate in meteorology from Pennsylvania State University. Desai is also an American Meteorological Society Certified Consulting Meteorologist. Since 2007, he has lived in Madison with his wife and three daughters.

The Northwoods is a special place. The million acres of forests, thousands of lakes, extensive wetlands, and welcoming people of this place have beckoned visitors for the thousands of years that communities have formed here. But did you know that this landscape can also be a powerful ally in our global goal to slow down or reverse the negative effects of global warming? Professor Desai and his ecometeorology lab study how a changing climate influences the carbon cycle of the Northwoods, with intensive observations on tall towers situated throughout them. Attendees will learn the story that two decades of these observations have told climate science, how the concept of carbon management is taking hold across the nation, and what that means locally.

The Role of State Institutions in American Democracy

Miriam Seifter and Robert Yablon ’99
Seifter: Associate professor, UW Law School; codirector, State Democracy Research Initiative
Yablon: Associate professor, UW Law School; codirector, State Democracy Research Initiative
Tuesday, Aug. 30 | 10:30 a.m.

Miriam Seifter’s research interests include federalism, administrative and constitutional law, and state and local government law with a focus on challenges affecting democracy at the state level. Seifter’s recent publications appear in the Harvard Law Review, Columbia Law Review, Michigan Law Review, and NYU Law Review, among others. Seifter received a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from Yale University, a master’s degree with distinction from Oxford University, and a JD magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she was an articles editor of the Harvard Law Review. She served as a law clerk for Chief Judge Merrick Garland on the DC Circuit and for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Supreme Court of the United States. Prior to joining the UW Law faculty, she was a visiting researcher and adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center and worked in private practice at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP in San Francisco.

Robert Yablon’s research interests include political and election law, constitutional law, federal courts, and statutory interpretation. Yablon received his bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and his master’s degree in social policy from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He earned his JD at Yale Law School, where he was an articles editor of the Yale Law Journal. Yablon served as a law clerk for Judge William Fletcher of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor. He also worked in private practice at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Yablon’s articles have appeared in the Northwestern University Law Review, Minnesota Law Review, and Iowa Law Review, among others.

American democracy is in peril. Efforts to diagnose and treat our democratic ills tend to focus on the national level. In law schools and public dialogue, the lion’s share of attention goes to the U.S. Constitution, Congress, the president, and the Supreme Court, yet much of our democracy depends on institutions closer to home. In this presentation, Professors Seifter and Yablon will first describe the causes and consequences of inattention to state government. Neglecting states allows opportunists to pursue power grabs, gerrymanders, and rollbacks of voting rights. They will then explain how state-level constitutions and the government institutions they create differ in important ways from their federal counterparts, and how these differences present both opportunities and risks for American democracy. Finally, they will explain what policymakers and ordinary people can do to support the state institutions that make democracy work.

The UW Center for Health Disparities Research: Linking Cells to Communities

Amy Kind ’96, MD’01, PhD’11
Professor, Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology, UW–Madison’s Department of Medicine; founding director, Center for Health Disparities Research, UW–Madison’s School of Medicine and Public Health
Tuesday, Aug. 30 | 1:30 p.m.

Amy Kind leads the Dementia Care Research Core at the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) and coleads the ADRC’s Research Education Core. She is a former fellow in the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine program and is a dedicated clinician and research mentor. Kind currently serves as chair of the Oversight and Advisory Committee of the Wisconsin Partnership Program, the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health’s largest endowment-funded grant program.

Dr. Kind will provide an overview of the new UW Center for Health Disparities Research (CHDR) as well as an introduction to the concepts of mechanistic health disparities research theory, social-biological phenotyping, multilevel analytics, and the exposome. Mechanistic health disparities research is the study of the role that multidimensional structural processes and systems play in perpetuating health disparities across the life course, as well as the biological pathways that these systems trigger to result in increased morbidity and mortality. The ultimate goal of this research is to elucidate underlying social-biological mechanisms and design new therapies and interventions tailored for targeted conditions, systems, and populations to mitigate health disparities.

Field Trips

Kemp Natural Resources Station

Kemp Natural Resources Station is one of 12 agricultural research stations managed by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Kemp Station’s mission of teaching, outreach, and research focuses on natural resources management. Annual projects include fisheries, wildlife, forestry, and atmospheric sciences. We look forward to showing you this hidden gem in the Northwoods.

Minocqua, Wisconsin

Join your fellow Alumni College classmates in visiting charming Minocqua, Wisconsin. Shop, stroll, and take things slow in this beautiful Northwoods destination.

August 28-31, 2022
August 28-31, 2022
Red Crown Lodge
3852 U.S. Highway 51 N.
Arbor Vitae, WI
View Map and Event Details

$750 – 1300

Red Crown Lodge
3852 U.S. Highway 51 N.
Arbor Vitae, WI
Additional Details
Red Crown Lodge is a corporate retreat in Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin, that was established in 1922 by Standard Oil. Located on Trout Lake in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin, the lodge has served as a meeting facility for more than 80 years. It offers spacious guest rooms and opportunities for body-and-mind enrichment.
August 28-31, 2022
August 28-31, 2022
Red Crown Lodge
3852 U.S. Highway 51 N.
Arbor Vitae, WI
View Map and Event Details

$750 – 1300