Q&A: Kait blogs about UW from a different perspective

Feb. 27, 2013

by Susannah Brooks

Kait Vosswinkel is a native of West Allis, just outside Milwaukee. But it took several years – and several trips around the world – to find her way back to Wisconsin.

As a non-traditional student, she’s using her blog, Kait and the Badger, and her Twitter account, @KaitTheBadger, to explore UW-Madison’s culture from a different perspective.

Vosswinkel recently sat down with The Weekly to discuss what brought her to Madison, why she loves finding ways to connect, and how she’s brought her life into her blog.

The Weekly: First things first: tell us about yourself.

Kait Vosswinkel: I’m a junior in journalism. This is my second semester at UW-Madison; I transferred from Madison College. In all my “free time” [laughs] I do a lot of rock climbing and photography. I love politics and language; I’m kind of a culture junkie.

TW: Is that one reason you started your blog?

KV: Absolutely. Milwaukee has a very different scene. As a transplant, I wanted to figure out UW-Madison’s culture through individual stories: sharing the experience through the students themselves.

TW: Now that you’re back home, what’s changed the way you view Wisconsin?

KV: The biggest thing was a sense of perspective. I’ve been in some dire circumstances, so I feel like I can handle almost anything now. It’s true that you appreciate school so much more at a different stage in life. Sometimes I feel like a bit of a goody-two-shoes, raising my hand all the time. I’m just so excited to be here. The things I learn are so relevant, especially after traveling. A multi-party system sounds boring in a classroom, but that’s what threw Belgium into a collapse in 2010, forcing me to leave the country. Once you’ve lived through something, it’s not a textbook issue anymore.

TW: Why have you used so many techniques (Instagram, videos, even throwing a dart at a map to figure out your next story)?

KV: I have so many ideas! Some of them require a larger following; I’d love to do polls, mapping – seeing where people eat lunch the most frequently, or where they’d take a nap in the spring. Above all, I just love sitting down with students. It’s my favorite part of the day.

TW: But at the same time, running a blog on your own is new for you.

KV: With so much freedom, it was overwhelming at first. Still is. I’d been a hard news photographer for a Belgian paper; as an editor for the [Madison College] Clarion, I was used to chasing everyone around. Now I have no one to compete against; I have to challenge myself to be specific and come up with ideas. I’m always sort of scheming. But I love it.

TW: What keeps you motivated?

KV: I want to give this campus something unique. I also learn something every single time I attempt a new article or a new piece. That keeps me going: knowing that despite the difficulties, I learn something every day.

Vosswinkel is employed as a student intern in University Communications and Marketing.