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Raving Residence Hall Reviews

How do your dorm room memories measure up against what today’s students have to say?

Esther Seidlitz
March 01, 2023
Student studying in a dorm.

UW Archives, S05603.

Do you ever wonder if that little wall divot you made in your Sellery Hall room is still there, bugging a particularly observant UW student today? Are your warnings about certain halls to prospective Badgers still valid? Today’s residents must have access to better cafeteria food or functional dryers, right?

Thanks to the new residence hall review website, MadHousing, wonder no more. Find out how your old living quarters hold up according to current students, and see what improvements you missed out on. Or maybe your memories of the UW dorm life are as sweet as those shared below!

Students in a dorm.
UW Archives, S06379

My first year at UW-Madison, I lived on the top floor of Chadbourne — then a women-only dorm. Our room faced the capitol, and it was a wonderful “night light,” providing plenty of light to see in the middle of the night. We didn’t close the curtains — we figured anyone who went through enough trouble to see into our room was allowed! One night, we did wake up and couldn’t figure out what was wrong, but something “wasn’t right.” Finally realized the light on the Capitol was OFF! Still don’t know why, but it was very weird!

Dianne Mentzel Thompson ’79

Red Bank, NJ

I lived in Winslow House and had a great freshman year. Roommate was from the same hometown, guys were generally congenial and disruptions were few and far between. I was a music major so didn’t love the daily slog to Music Hall for theory, history, etc., especially in the winter months, but soon found a girlfriend who lived in the Alpha Xi house, on the other end of campus! Food at Carson Gulley was excellent, and the experience was exactly what I needed as a freshman who was very busy with band and orchestra activities as well as my classes. I moved into a vacated fraternity house my sophomore year, closer to the girlfriend and close to the Gamma Phi Beta house, where I worked as a waiter. The Alpha Xi relationship ended, and I entered into a relationship with a Gamma Phi who I eventually married. Ah, youth!!!

Michael Cuthbert ’62, MS’63

Palm Springs, CA

I loved living in Chadbourne and would place it on top of the good dorm list. I lived there from 1965 to 1967. For most of us, that was our first “home away from home,” and Chadbourne and the UW was a good place to learn about independence and learn how to make life decisions. The memories are many:

  1. Watching the first Vietnam War protest sit-in at the admin building from the window in my room.
  2. Hosting a special Dads-and-Moms Weekend, where we spent the weekend entertaining them and introducing them to our new friends (and they took us out for a delicious dinner to escape dorm food).
  3. Having evening discussions with several resident friends on my sixth floor wing, where we solved every issue this country had at that time.
  4. “Borrowing” cafeteria trays to slide down Bascom Hill on the first measurable snowfall of the year.
  5. It was all women, so being able to wander the halls in our pajamas “or whatever” was ok.
  6. Our common areas were always nice and clean. I remember Saturday mornings when we had to clean our own rooms and they had to be checked by the “house mother” when we had completed the job.
  7. Our food was pretty good for cafeteria food, but if we were still hungry or wanted to skip a dorm meal, Paisan's was just across the street.
  8. Chadbourne was in the heart of the UW campus at that time, so we were able to get to just about every UW class building in a short time. When we overslept and had to run to our 8:00 a.m., it was possible to make it before the lecture started.
  9. It was close to Langdon Street and State Street, where lots of our social lives took place.  
  10. Living in Chadbourne provided me the opportunity to meet and make lifelong friends. I graduated in 1969, and 10 of my Chadbourne Hall friends still make an effort to get together once a year.  

I had a wonderful time there — almost too wonderful the first semester. Needless to say, my parents had to remind me why I was there. If I could, I would do my four years at the University of Wisconsin starting in Chadbourne all over again.

Barbara (Forton) Zander ’69

Stoughton, WI

Had a fabulous dorm experience in Cole Hall, 1978–80. These were the days when we all lived there for two years, and Lakeshore dorms were the place to be! I met many lifelong friends who also happened to be from different high schools in Milwaukee. And I also met my beloved husband, Jeff, when he came down my floor on a rollaway bed after attending a dance with my good friend. Ha!

Cathy Wendorf ’82


Gregory/Tripp, 1961–62. Spectacular.

Chip Burke ’66, JD’69


Excellent! Created lifelong friends. We still laugh about the stunts we pulled our freshmen year in Tripp/Gregory.

Cameron Cook ’76, JD’79

Bozeman, MT

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