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Nothing heralds the return of spring more than dots of orange, yellow, and green popping up on the Memorial Union Terrace. This season, the chairs returned on April 8 — but not in full force. Last summer, staff at the Wisconsin Union discovered that 250 Terrace chairs had gone “missing.” Because we’re guessing the chairs didn’t sprout legs and walk away, we’re going to take that as stolen. Now, if a total of 250 chairs sounds like a lot, it is. There are (read: should be) 1,000 Terrace chairs, putting last year’s theft at 25 percent — a new record. In the past, Union staff estimated that 60 to 70 chairs would be stolen annually and would plan accordingly. The manufacturer, Wisco Industries, makes around 300 new chairs per year —one batch at the beginning of the year and one batch at the end. It takes two months or so to make one batch, and the cost of replacing just one chair is $250. With the jump in Terrace-chair theft, the UW-Madison Police Department partnered with the Union last fall to implement the Union Chair Retrieval Program. As of November 2014, about a dozen chairs had been retrieved. Tips from community members regarding missing chairs are always welcomed and will remain anonymous. Send your tips to

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