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New App Called TerraceTime Is Union’s Response to Seating Crisis

The Memorial Union Terrace has been undergoing significant physical upgrades, but now it’s about to see its first digital renovation.

Chelsea Rademacher ’13
March 30, 2017
Terrace chairs at sunrise.

MADISON, Wis., April 2017 — The Memorial Union Terrace has been undergoing significant physical upgrades, but now it’s about to see its first digital renovation.

Don Keigh, Assistant Senior Managing Director of Terrace Activities and a graduate of the University of Michigan, announced today that the iconic “outdoor living room” will be implementing a reservation system for Terrace its sought-after tables and chairs.

Starting this season, patrons will be able to reserve 30-minute time slots using the new app, TerraceTime. “Reservations will be required for entry onto the Memorial Union Terrace,” says Keigh, and will be held for only five minutes after the reservation time. Each TerraceTime user will be allowed 10 slots of 30 minutes each per month.

The reservation system is in response to a barrage of complaints from Madison-area community members who argued that UW students failed to adequately share the communal space. The complaints sparked a weekend-long demonstration by a small group of community members who protested the “unfair” first-come-first-served seating policy. The short-lived #OccupyTerrace movement garnered local attention when protesters sat on top of the Terrace’s tables in foldable lawn chairs.

“We heard people’s complaints and used them as catalysts for some internal-facing policy review,” says Wisconsin Union spokesperson Moe Howard ’97. “We asked ourselves, how can we make the Terrace work for everyone?”

The answer was TerraceTime, the user-friendly app that was created through a partnership between the Wisconsin Union and Cre8ive subCULTR, a Madison-based tech-startup think tank.

“We’re not necessarily saying we agree with this, like, hyperregulated mainstreaming of such an iconic spot,” says Joe Ksonu, the startup’s chief thinking officer, “but we’ve gotta pay for our office’s artisanally curated cold-brew coffee somehow.”

TerraceTime, which will be available for purchase on the App Store and Google Play, lets users reserve one table (small or large), as well as the number of chairs needed — up to four per small table and seven per large table. The popular oversized chairs will be available for reservations in five-minute increments.

At present, the app does not offer the capability to reserve a specific table or chair color, “but it’s definitely something we’re looking into for the future,” says Howard.

TerraceTime will launch on April 31, 2017.

We hope you enjoy April Fools Day. On, Wisconsin!

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