Public Service Public Service

Service is who we are and what we do. UW–Madison’s longest and proudest tradition remains the Wisconsin Idea, the principle that the university should improve people’s lives beyond the classroom.

First articulated in 1905 by UW President Charles Van Hise, the Wisconsin Idea continues to guide our research, teaching, outreach, and public service. And it knows no bounds. Together, the contributions of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni extend far beyond our campus—blazing new trails for the citizens of Wisconsin, the nation, and the world.

Quick Facts

  • 3,145
    Peace Corps Volunteers since 1961
  • 83%
    of UW–Madison students report volunteer experiences
  • 1,700

    badger volunteers served the community last year

The UW’s Impact The UW’s Impact

South Madison community night

In Madison

As a public institution in service of our state and local community, we’re active and engaged participants in the Madison area. This strong bond is reinforced each day through UW–Madison’s dedicated involvement with schools, cultural organizations, nonprofits, and more.

UW School of Medicine and Public Health faculty member Byron Crouse talks with a dairy farmer about health insurance

Throughout Wisconsin

UW–Madison is a powerful economic engine for the state of Wisconsin, generating $15 billion annually in economic impact. Our contributions make Wisconsin financially stronger, more competitive, and more stable across all industries.

Director of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds Richard Davidson talks with the Dalai Lama

Across the Nation

The UW is home to many of today’s top thinkers, researchers, and leaders. When news breaks, media seek out our faculty and staff experts to provide insight. And when national challenges emerge, our growing team of Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, and National Medal of Science winners rises to the occasion.

A group of young volunteers and children

Around the World

UW–Madison's history of collaboration gives us a global perspective on the most pressing issues facing our world. We recruit the best in every field and industry, and we generously fund projects that seek to improve lives far beyond our borders.