On Badger Belonging: The Complexity of Shared Identity at UW–Madison

The University of Wisconsin–Madison has stood as the flagship university of the state since Wisconsin was founded in 1848. For nearly two centuries, there have been thousands of people who have attended or worked at this institution — some carrying on a family tradition and others simply excited to embark on a new educational journey. Through its history, UW–Madison has marketed itself not only as a school, but also as a community that is invested in the cultivation of well-rounded scholars, cutting-edge researchers, and strong leaders. The marketing tactics change, but are always implemented with the same goal: to foster a sense of belonging at UW. Whether or not people at UW–Madison feel as if they belong within the bounds of this institution, though, is another thing completely.