Res. Hall Insights: Witte and Sellery Hall

Witte and Sellery Halls – Southeast Neighborhood

Witte and Sellery Halls are two high rise residence halls about a block away from each other on the Southeast side of campus. The buildings themselves are completely identical, typical dormitory style halls. Both have 10 floors and are broken up into two separate towers connected by the first floor. Seriously, these two halls are EXACTLY the same.

There are a number of learning communities located in these buildings. Witte Hall has the Multicultural Learning Community (MLC), and Sellery Hall has the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), Entrepreneurial Residential Learning Community (ERLC), and Creative Arts and Design Learning Community (The Studio). Each of these learning communities are one floor within Witte and Sellery. Check out the links to learn what each community is about and what kind of support, events, and programs they have.

Freshman Population

Witte and Sellery both have mostly freshman populations, probably around 95% freshman. Like every other mostly freshman residence halls, they are great halls to meet lots of new friends.

Room Style

All the rooms are doubles and are typical for what most freshman live in on the UW-Madison campus. What’s unique about Witte and Sellery is they both have two room types, a two-window and a three-window room. There is no real advantage or disadvantage between them, and there are a ton of cool set-ups you could do with either.

The furniture in all dorm rooms are stackable or loftable and allow you to customize your room to what will suit you and your roommate’s needs. It’s so easy to set-up many students change their room around once or twice a semester. Here is a peak at Witte and Sellery’s bed styles.

Two-window room in Witte Hall:

witte hall 2witte hall

Two-window room in Sellery Hall:

sellery hall 2 sellery hall


Witte and Sellery are co-ed by room which means every other room could be either male or female students. The bathrooms are in a community style set-up where they are shared with the other students on your floor.

As I’ve said before, I know those words immediately send you running in a panic. You’re going to have to trust me, they don’t live up the massive negative hype created about them.

In fact, I would go so far to say that I met a good number of new friends in the bathrooms. If you don’t eventually say hi to that one other person in the bathroom brushing their teeth before the 8am class you both thought would be easy to get up for because, “Hey, I got up earlier than that for high school,” every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, then you’re full of baloney. You obviously both have a lot in common.

brushing teeth

The community bathrooms have about five shower stalls, toilet stalls, and sinks. The showers are in separate lockable stalls, so you can maintain your privacy.There shouldn’t be any issues with having to wait as college students we’ve all got some wacky schedules which spreads out the traffic enough that there tends not to be a “bathroom rush hour”.


Witte and Sellery Hall are located closer to State Street and the Kohl’s Center. The closest study spot is the S.A.C. located just across the street. Gordon Commons is the largest dining hall on the Southeast side of campus and is located right in between Witte and Sellery.

There are sand volleyball courts by Witte and basketball courts by Sellery. The SERF which is the recreational facility on the Southeast side of campus is also right across the street.

Reader Questions

Did you live in Witte or Sellery and want to share your experiences? What residence hall do you want to hear about next week? Maybe you have another pressing question you want answered, comment on this post or tweet at me, @SierraLivesey. I would love to hear from you!


Res. Hall Insights: Chadbourne Hall

Chadbourne Hall – The Chadbourne Residential College

The first thing anyone needs to know about Chadbourne is that the whole building is apart of the learning community called the Chadbourne Residential College (CRC). If you don’t know what a learning community is check out my previous post, “Which Dorm in the Best One?” aka University Housing: The Basics.

The CRC focuses on creating an intimate liberal arts college feel in the middle of the large research university that is UW-Madison. Living in the CRC gives you the opportunity to attend events that will engage you in the UW-Madison community, grow your professional skills (gotta pad that resume), and meet other students. They’ve gone to hear Neil DeGrasse Tyson speak, had Harrpy Potter marathons, and held conversations about hot button topics while everyone sips hot chocolate.

Check out other past events here! 

You can also take classes that take place right inside Chadbourne and are available only to students within the Chadbourne community. Not only are class sizes smaller with more recognizable faces, you can feel free to strut into class showcasing your new pjs.


Don’t feel overwhelmed at all the stuff going on either. Attendance is not mandatory because, well, you’re not in first grade anymore. If you having a busy week or are not really interested in one of the events, there’s no obligation.

Freshman Population

With Ogg Hall becoming exclusively for upperclassmen next academic year in 2015-2016, Chadbourne will likely have a huge number of freshman. Potentially up to 80% of the whole building could be freshman. With almost 600 students total, that’s still a lot of new friends to meet.

Building and Room Style

While the building has a traditional dormitory style (all double rooms separated into wings) recent renovations give the hall a more updated feel. Each floor now has three bathrooms and each room is air conditioned.

The double rooms are typical for what most freshman live in on the UW-Madison campus. Stackable and loftable furniture allow you to customize your room to what will suit you and your roommate’s needs. Heck, feel free to switch it up in the middle of the semester if you want! Take a peek at some of the main options you have.

chadbourne hall 2 chadbourne hall

Yes, the closet spaces look small (they’re about 3 feet wide and two feet deep), but don’t freak out yet. You can bring your own furniture when you move in. Bring hanging shoe racks, under the bed storage, and get your Pinterest on. Of course, be sure to get the okay from your roommate before you bring that two story shoe rack you made to hold your collection!


Chadbourne has a community bathroom set-up. I know those words immediately send shivers down your spine, but bare with me. Each floor has three wings which are either all men or women, and each wing has its own bathroom. This means that you will be sharing a bathroom with 20 other people. Again. Contain your fear for a moment.

The community bathrooms have about five shower stalls, toilet stalls, and sinks. The showers are in separate lockable stalls, so you can maintain your privacy.There shouldn’t be any issues with having to wait for a sink to brush your teeth or a shower in the morning. As college students we’ve all got some wacky schedules which spreads out the traffic enough that there tends not to be a “bathroom rush hour”.

Rheta’s Dining Hall

Chadbourne was built with Rheta’s (one of the housing dining facilities) attached to it! That means it’s time to scroll back up  to rewatch that gif. You’re going to need study/practice if you’re strutting into class AND Rheta’s in your pjs. Don’t worry. You have plenty of time if you start now.

Rheta’s is a medium sized dining hall that has seven food “stations” . Think of it like a food court with seven different restaurants. Plus, it has a grab and go convenience store called the Flamingo Run, so you can buy things to stuff in your mini fridge and other odds and ends like band-aids or ibuprofen.


Smack dab at the bottom of Bascom Hill you really can’t ask for a better location. Of course, that does mean walking up Bascom Hill is pretty much unavoidable. The humanities building and the business school are just across the street, and College library isn’t more than three blocks.

Reader Questions

Did I get something wrong? Did you live in Chadbourne and want to share your experiences? Want me to break down a specific residence hall next week? Comment below!

“Which Dorm is the Best One?” aka University Housing: The Basics

“Which dorm is the best one?” 

This is probably the most frequent question I get asked on tours, and it’s a question I can’t exactly answer in one word. There are nineteen residence halls aka “dorms” on the UW-Madison campus. They may all be unique, but there is certainly no clear winner.


You will read all sorts of things about which residence hall is the best and what type of students live in them. I’m here to tell you to take those hall stereotypes with a grain of salt. No specific building is going to be able to give you the “Wisconsin Experience” or help you meet friends. What will make your first year memorable is the people you meet and the things you do.

From my experience, freshman have the best experiences in halls that have mostly freshman living in them. Everyone has their doors open, are taking the same classes, and are as eager to meet and fit in as you are. Upperclassmen (sophomores, juniors, and seniors) tend to have things more figured out and are less likely to be ready to make a whole new group of friends.

With my spiel out of the way, here’s the low down for those of you who are as clueless as I was.

A Tale of Two Neighborhoods

There are two “neighborhoods” on campus, Lakeshore and Southeast. As the names suggest, Lakeshore is located by Lake Mendota and Southeast is on the southeast part of campus. Both have about the same number of students. Lakeshore has more residence halls packed close together with less students in each building, and Southeast has less residence halls farther apart with more students in each building.


I know there is a huge stereotype that if you want any kind of social life you should life in Southeast. Guess what? The housing assignment process is random, which means that there are going to be as many students in the Southeast that want to go out on weekends as there are in Lakeshore and as many students in Southeast that want to stay in as there are in Lakeshore.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with liking one neighborhood over the other. Just rest easy knowing your Wisconsin Experience will remain intact either way. That’s what I love about UW-Madison the most. There are so many students here you are bound to find exactly where you fit into our large community, no matter where you live.

Learning Communities

A learning community is a tight-nit group of students within the residence halls. A learning community can make up a floor within a hall, a couple of floors, or even the whole building. The students that live in the learning community are all there to explore the topic/theme of the community with each other and other experts on campus.

What’s nice is that you don’t have to be majoring in the topic to live there! A lot of students use learning communities as a chance to learn about something new or keep active in a hobby or interest they have but don’t want to major in.

There are ten learning communities within the residence halls. Find the right one for you!

Psst… Students that rank a learning community as their #1 preference get to select a room online from within that learning community rather than go through the random assignment process. It’s a lot like picking a seat on an airplane.

Res. Hall Insights

Every week I will dedicate a post to explaining the nooks and crannies of one of the nineteen residence halls. What the bathrooms look like, how the rooms are set up, what percentage of freshman live there, and what makes it unique.

This week I’ll be giving you the insight on Chadbourne Hall so stay tuned!

Reader Questions

What stereotypes have you heard about certain residence halls? What is the thing you look for most in a residence hall? If you live(d) in the residence halls what was your favorite thing about them? Leave a comment or tweet at me, @SierraLivesey. I want to know what you think!