Editor’s note: People of UW is a human interest series produced by Badger Herald staff members. The series aims to highlight a student or student group at the University of Wisconsin making an impact on the campus community. These Q&As are lightly edited for clarity and style.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Taylor Wild. I am a senior at UW majoring in environmental studies and geography. I’m from Deerfield, Wisconsin, which is half an hour from Madison. After graduation I’m hoping to find a job in the sustainability field that allows me to continue my passion back to my community. I joined Alpha Xi Delta during the fall of my sophomore year.
What is Humorology?
Humo, as we call it, is a student organization at UW, and we’re also our own nonprofit organization. We produce an annual musical variety show that takes place at UW every spring. Humo students compete in teams or casts that write, choreograph, direct and perform their own original mini musical comedy. Our casts also compete against each other to fundraise the most money for our beneficiary. It’s mostly made up of difference FSL organizations, which are fraternity and sorority life organizations. Not all of them are involved, but a lot are and continue to be year after year. I think there are 28 chapters involved this year, which brings our total numbers to just under 1,000 students. Also, Humo isn’t exclusively FSL members and every year, we usually have students that join casts as “independents” that aren’t in a sorority or fraternity.
What’s your specific role?
My sophomore year, I started out as a member of a cast, so I was in almost every scene in our final show, including dances and musical numbers. Last year, I was on the directing team for my cast. I helped the writers create our show last year. Then this year, I was super honored to be on the executive board as the financial administrator. Basically, I keep track of most finances, administration information for the casts, and help to keep Humo a legal nonprofit organization. I also give guidance to our cast to help their show reach its full potential along with other members of the exec board.
What are the plays about?
The plays are inspired by other movies or stories but they’re all original and produced by the directing teams of each cast. They always throw in joke sets that students at UW might know. So they might reference people like Tunnel Bob or, different jokes of things on campus, like beating Minnesota. The plays are put on through donations in general. Our cast raises money all year. They reach out to family members, friends, businesses, friends of friends and anybody else that they can reach out to tell them what we’re doing and the organization they’re a part of, just to help raise money for their cast and the beneficiary.
How is the beneficiary selected?
Our beneficiary changes every year, which is one of my favorite parts about Humo because it allows us to help an even greater amount of people in the community. We often have local charities apply to your beneficiary, and our executive board and directors vote to choose our beneficiary of that year.
What’s the selected beneficiary this year?
This year the beneficiary is Logan’s Heart and Smiles, which is a Madison-based nonprofit that helps families in need by building accessibility and safety modifications for children with disabilities or special needs. It’s a really amazing organization because their work empowers children’s independence in their own home which is really important for their development. Logan’s Heart and Smiles was founded by Joe Herr who has been absolutely wonderful to work with. He started the organization in honor of his son Logan, who was born with cerebral palsy. Something I find really sweet about Logan’s Heart and Smiles, is that every child they help joins their family as Logan’s friends.
How much has Humo raised?
To date, we have raised over $2.4 million for the Madison community. Last year, we raised over $520,000, for the Canopy Center of Dane County, but it’s kind of difficult to give an average just because totals can vary so much by year. Our goal this year is to raise $450,000 for Logan’s Heart and Smiles. But of course, all of us on the executive board are striving to go above and beyond that to raise as much as possible.
What’s your favorite part of Humo?
I would say I have two favorites. I absolutely love being part of an organization that can create such an immense difference for local nonprofits and so many families in the community. And another thing I love about Humo is just getting so many students involved in the performing arts, many of which have never done so before. They all form such close friendships through the creative process, and it’s just a really wonderful thing to see.
What’s next for you?
I’m not completely sure, but I’m really interested in working with food recovery programs. Big parts in sustainability is that there’s a lot of food that could be saved and given to people who are in need and maybe struggling with hunger at home. Recovery programs take that food that would otherwise be wasted and give it to people that can’t afford it.