« on: June 22, 2004, 11:47:06 AM »
I am in Cali now, but I was born and raised in a suburb of Milwaukee and I went to UG at UW-Madison. I have to holistically disagree w/ the posts here.
Madison is left-leaning. However, like all places that had hippie movements, it isn't quite as out there as it used to be. Madison has students from all over the country. You'll experience an interesting hodge podge of Midwestern folk, East Coast princesses and West Coast hippies. With faculty, grad students and UGs totaling over 80,000, I guarantee, no matter what type of person you are, you will find people you love. I absolutely love Madison and most people who visit do as well. There is sooooooo much to do there if you explore even a little bit. From cigar bars to jazz clubs to South American restaurants...it's there if you know how to find it. They have a great network of bike trails over the entire city which is good for rollerblading or running as well. People are really involved in campus activities and if you have a cause, you'll definitely have 20 others to join ya.
With that said, regarding the racism...there are a solid # of folks that are from the Midwest. I would say that you're not going to experience a lot of racism at a large university campus. However, because it is in the Midwest, diversity can be lacking. One of my best friends in UG actually headed up the multicultural organization because he wanted to have a prominent role in bringing more diversity and greater understanding to the Midwestern campus. The school itself still recognizes this as a weak area and understands that they need to improve their recruting of non-whites. I know for my friend, who is Indian, it was sometimes hard for him to not be around a diverse crowd sometimes...he took a proactive approach though and ended up living in Madison 3 years after a 5 year undergrad.
Milwaukee: Definitely more blue-collar. However, you'll be on a university campus if you go to Marquette. Waterstreet can be a good place to experience culture. There are large parks and great festivals in the summer, especially Summerfest which is a musical extravaganza. I could have gone to Marquette, but Madison is a much better school and is a much better town.
If you have any other questions, I would be happy to answer them. I have been to a lot of university campuses. For me, nothing compares to Madison in terms of the feel/size/& culture. I loved it.