Share your Physical Plant story


How you can get involved

We want to hear from you! You can tell your story in the method you prefer. You can come to campus, and we’ll work with you to complete a video or audio recording. If you live far away or can’t make it to UW–Madison, we can also set up a Zoom video call. Prefer the written word? You can send in your written story.

There is no “right” way to share. We’re simply interested in what you have to say — the good, the bad, and even the ugly. You can share a quick story or talk for more than an hour. It’s up to you.

We’re coordinating story-sharing appointments for this summer. Please email Jenee at to set up your time slot. 

I want to share my story!


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Why are you doing story-sharing interviews?

Because the Service Building and Service Annex have been on campus for more than 100 years, there is a great deal of history that has happened in these facilities. As part of the commemoration, and because we have so many current and past employees gathered, we wanted to capture oral histories from the people who have inhabited these buildings. This was supported by both UW Archives and the Wisconsin Historical Society.
This method of interviewing is used to preserve the voices, memories and perspectives of people in history. Oral histories provide a fuller, more accurate picture of the past by augmenting the information provided by public records, statistical data, photographs, maps, letters, diaries, and other historical materials.

How are the interviews being conducted?

Interviews are held in a private room with an interviewer and a camera operator. These interviews were prepared in consultation with Wisconsin Historical Society and UW Archives and using publicly available training from the Smithsonian Institute.

Why is my story important?

To fully tell the story of Physical Plant, the Service Building and Service Annex, we are collecting oral histories. These can shed light on unknown or hidden facets of the university, trades and services, and Wisconsin. It is important to capture these stories before they’re forgotten.

What do I say?

There is no “right” or “wrong” way to share your story. You’re simply having a conversation with someone. You can sit down and tell a story (or multiple stories) or share memories. Or, if you aren’t sure where to start, your interviewer can share some questions and prompts to get you started.

How long is it?

You get to decide! You can talk for 15 minutes or over an hour. Just choose a timeslot and come back here when it’s your time to talk.

How will these be used?

Long-term, these interviews will be stored at UW Archives, where they will be available for future generations. UW Archives materials can be viewed by the public, and these may be online. Additionally, these interviews may be compiled for a commemorative video, used in UW-Madison news pieces, or posted on the FP&M website.

The finished product will be available online, and portions may be used for a commemorative video or UW-Madison news pieces, but this is for educational and historical purposes.

I know someone who should do this! How do they get in touch?

Please have them email Jenee at

What do I even say?

It’s up to you! You get to share your stories and memories. Here are a few ideas from what others have shared:

  • Where/when you work(ed) for Physical Plant.
  • What is/was a normal day in the Service Building or Annex like for you.
  • Your favorite sights, sounds, and smells from these facilities.
  • Memories of Physical Plant social events and parties.
  • Favorite or most challenging part about working in Service Building or Annex.
  • The funniest thing that has happened to you on the job.
  • What you’ll miss most about these buildings.


Contact Lori at