Back-to-school shopping is a late-summer ritual for most families. But thanks to hundreds of Badgers, when students from four Milwaukee schools started putting together their supplies last year, backpacks filled with erasers, scissors and art supplies didn’t cost them a thing.
That’s because UW alumni and friends put their generous spirit on display at the 2011 UW-Madison Day at the Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis by filling fifty 55-gallon bags with school supplies for the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) system.
Beth Giles PhD’06, assistant director for professional learning in the UW’s Education Outreach and Partnerships office, credits her colleagues in the School of Education — including Dean Julie Underwood — for brainstorming the idea to combine fun with philanthropy at the fair.
“The cost of school supplies is something many people underestimate,” Giles says. “By providing school supplies for families who struggle financially, we are helping to support learning, and ensuring these kids have what they need to be successful.”
Badgers are invited to return to the fairgrounds on August 8, 2012, for this year’s UW-Madison Day at the State Fair, which will feature hands-on science-exploration stations, games, and of course, a pep rally with the UW Spirit Squad, the UW Marching Band and Bucky Badger. About 200 local volunteers will staff the gates to accept school supplies — this year, with a goal of filling an entire truck with donations for Milwaukee children in need.
“We’re looking forward to another successful drive,” Giles says. “I know we can reach our goal, because our Badgers are known for their hard work and generous spirit!”