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Where are they now? Meet Andrea Collins

When did you graduate what was your major?

I graduated this past May with a BA in Psychology.

What are you doing now?

I am the Director of Sustainability at Short Stack Eatery, an all-breakfast all-day restaurant in downtown Madison that strives to make our community better any way we can. We have a volunteer group called the Sustainability Team that does a lot of work around local purchasing, waste reduction, alternative transportation, race equity, and LGBTQ+ issues, among other things. I coordinate these efforts, as well as do most of the community outreach and internal sustainability & employee wellness work for Short Stack.

What is your fondest memory of being a student at UW?

My fondest memories were countless UW Marching Band memories. It's really hard to choose just one -- I got to travel the country with many close friends, witness incredible moments in Wisconsin athletics in football, basketball, hockey, and volleyball, and march under the direction of Mike Leckrone (which is a privilege all on its own). The specific memory that comes to mind is the Outback Bowl game my freshman year. It was an incredible win and was the first time I really realized what it meant to be a Badger.

Why did you decide to attend UW?

I chose UW because I didn't want to go to Illinois... and also because I visited once, saw the band, experienced the lakes and State Street and the energy that Madison has, and couldn't see myself going anywhere else.

What would you tell prospective UW students?

It's a huge school, and very easy to lose yourself within it. You have to seek out your small community to make this huge place feel like home. Do it all -- join clubs, find friends with similar mindsets, keep in touch with friends you make throughout the years. Also, ask people that are older than you about cool classes to take. There are so many amazing classes I wish I had known about sooner! Finally, make a difference. Neither Madison nor the UW are perfect, but there are so many people here working to be better and ways to make positive changes and being a part of that has really made Madison home for me.

What did you learn from your education at UW?

UW taught me that I can find my own way. I faced a lot of personal hardships in college and I struggled to find my fit here, but I learned that I can push through it and make tough decisions that will make me successful. I learned how to be independent and still lean on my mentors and people in my life for help, which has empowered me to take the reigns on my life and do what I want with it.

What high school did you attend?

I attended Champaign Central High School in Champaign, Illinois.