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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Campus unites to raise funds for freshman

[media-credit name=’Derek Montgomery’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′]witte_dm_400[/media-credit]Students united in the Witte Residence Hall backyard Sunday to help raise more than $1,400 for the medical expenses of University of Wisconsin freshman Jason Gratzl, who was seriously injured when he fell from a Mifflin Street balcony in August.

Tim Harris, Gratzl's Witte roommate, and UW junior Michael Griffin organized the event, which included live bands, games, grilled food and a raffle give-away.

"It went really well, which just shows how much this campus cares about each other," Griffin said. "[Gratzl] was here only one day and we made that much money — it was great."


Griffin said the total money earned, which includes events held last week, was approximately $2,300.

Gratzl's parents, of Burlington, Wis., attended the event.

Jason Gratzl's mother, Angie Gratzl, said she thought it was wonderful that UW students showed so much character.

"I think that students at UW … don't get enough credit for their attitude," Gratzl's mother said, adding that UW students and representatives of Witte Residence Hall were instrumental in the creation of the event.

"It was amazing they could do it in such a short amount of time," she said. "[They had] support throughout the community and the UW System."

Businesses donated the raffle prizes given away, including a Microsoft Xbox, according to Griffin. An anonymous donor gave brats and burgers.

Witte resident Luke Moore, who attended the event, said he hadn't planned on donating any money until he saw signs advertising the fundraiser.

"I feel bad for [Gratzl]. It must be devastating for his family," Moore said. "It's a big deal to send [a kid] to college … and horrible for that kind of injury his first week in."

Moore said whatever they could pull together, even if it was a small amount, would likely be helpful because medical bills are so expensive.

UW freshman Steve Koppa, who was friends with Gratzl in high school, also attended the event.

Koppa said he helped raise $62 from his floor in Witte for the fundraiser.

"This is awesome," he said. "It is really cool we pulled together as a dorm."

Griffin estimated between 200 and 300 people attended the event throughout the day.

Griffin said he did not know how much Gratzl's medical bills cost, but the money raised will likely help in some way.

"I hope they appreciate it and know how many people care and want to see [Gratzl's] return," he said of Gratzl's family. They looked excited and happy so many showed up, he added.

Proceeds from the fundraisers will go to the Jason Gratzl Medical Fund. Further donations can be made to the open account at Associated Bank in Madison.

Gratzl fell from a second story balcony the night of Aug. 28 while attending a party at 453 W. Mifflin St.

Alcohol was said to have played a major factor in the fall, as Gratzl reportedly leaned over the railing to vomit and lost his balance.

Gratzl is currently listed as fair at the UW Hospital. His mother said he is minimally conscious.

"Sometimes he is awake and aware of his surroundings; other times he is not," she said. "He will need several months of rehabilitation."

Gratzl will remain at UW Hospital for approximately two weeks, when he will be transferred to the Sacred Heart Rehabilitation Clinic in Milwaukee, according to his mother.

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