To help you plan your conference time in Madison, below you'll find answers to a variety of common questions.
- I am presenting at the conference. What audio-visual technology will be available at the Pyle Center?
- Will attendees be able to connect to WiFi?
- Where is Madison and what's it like?
- When I called to reserve a room at the Lowell Center, I was told that it's full during the conference. Where should I stay?
- What are the rooms like at the Lowell Center?
- I'm arriving a day (or more) early for the conference. Any recommendations for what to do with my free time?
- Are there any restaurants in Madison?
- Do I need to rent a car?
- What's the schedule going to be for the conference?
- What is the parking situation? I will be commuting.
- How do I avoid a side trip to Iowa to see my parents?
- What's the weather going to be like?
- Is there a list of used bookstores in Madison?
I am presenting at the conference. What audio-visual technology will be available at the Pyle Center?
The Pyle Center will provide LCD projectors in all breakout rooms. For cost savings, however,the planners ask that presenters bring their own laptops and remote controls, when possible. (Note: There will be a couple of spare laptops available.) Also, presenters should bring their own mini DisplayPort-to-VGA adapters if their new PC or MAC laptops require them. As with all AV presentations, it is strongly advised that presenters bring backup copies of their presentations on flash drives and also email them to themselves in the event that personal laptops malfunction or if presenters are sharing laptops with co-presenters. To ensure laptop compatibility, presenters should make a test of their equipment during the continental breakfasts or after Friday's presentations if scheduled for Saturday's sessions.
Will attendees be able to connect to WiFi?
The Pyle Center has WiFi capability, and during registration each attendee will be given a NETID and password to access the Internet through the UW portal.
Where is Madison and what's it like?
Madison is a medium-sized city in south-central Wisconsin, with a population of 235,000 in a metro area of about 500,000. Madison is about an hour-and-a-half drive from Milwaukee, an hour and a half from Dubuque, three hours from Chicago, and four-and-a-half hours from the Twin Cities. Home of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison College, and Edgewood College — all local hosts for this year's MWCA conference — Madison is a great city to visit, with a fun vibe and lots of energy and creativity. The University campus, where the conference will be held, stretches for two miles along the south shore of Lake Mendota, within easy walking distance of many shops and restaurants along State Street, which runs between the University and state capitol.
When I called to reserve a room at the Lowell Center, I was told that it's full for the dates of the conference. Where should I stay?
Please be sure to read the hotel section of the conference website. We have blocks of rooms reserved not only for the Lowell Center at UW-Madison but also at the Campus Inn (just one block from the Pyle Conference Center), the Doubletree Hotel (five blocks from the Pyle Conference Center), and the Concourse Hotel (six blocks from the Pyle Conference Center). You may also find many more hotel options at www.visitmadison.com.
What are the rooms like at the Lowell Center?
Well, the lobby's nothing to write home about, and the rooms are on the small side (so is the elevator), but the guest rooms are attractive, recently redecorated, and very convenient to the Pyle Center, where the conference will be held, and to great walking along the lakeshore and to shopping and dining on State Street.
I'm staying in Madison for an extra night after the conference. Any recommendations for what to do with my free time?
There's lots to do, depending on your interests and whether you'll have a car.
- If you like architecture, be sure to visit the State Capitol. And nearby is Monona Terrace, a convention center on the shores of Lake Monona, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, a native of the Madison area. You'll enjoy shopping, dining, and people-watching on State Street, which connects the University campus and the capitol. At the Lowell Center, you'll be right at the northeast edge of the thousand-acre University campus, which runs for two miles along the shore of Lake Mendota. On your way to the campus, stop at the Memorial Union (the student union) to buy an ice cream cone (the famous ice cream is made on campus) or buy a beverage and sit on the terrace overlooking the lake at the back of the union; there's often great live music inside the Memorial Union and a great view of Lake Mendota from the Union terrace. (Be warned: to buy a beer at the Union, you'll need to demonstrate that you're attending the conference and that you're over 21 — so bring your Pyle Center registration form or your name tag, once you have one when you register at the Pyle Center on Friday.) You might want to take a stroll or jog or bike on the lakeshore path, which runs west for a couple miles from the Memorial Union. The nearby Chazen Museum of Art on campus and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art on State Street are well worth a visit. The Wisconsin Union Theater in the Memorial Union has a wonderful concert series. There are many public golf courses in the city — the most challenging is University Ridge. And Madison's a great place for biking and boating.
- A short drive or bus ride away from the University is the Henry Vilas Zoo, a small but attractive and varied zoo. Best of all, its free. At the west end of campus is the famous Frank-Lloyd-Wright designed Unitarian Meeting House, well worth a look and tour. And if you're a Wright fan, you'll want to visit his home, studio, and school at Taliesen, in Spring Green, Wisconsin, an hour west of Madison.
- If you're into the performing arts, check out the schedule for the Overture Center, a beautiful new cultural center right on State Street, between the University and the capitol.
- The Willy (Williamson) Street Neighborhood, on the near east side, is great for walking, with fun, unique local shops (cooking, craft, the Willy Street Co-op, coffee shops and music venues) and restaurants.
- The University's Arboretum (out Monroe Street to the southwest, a 1000-acre nature preserve and education center), is gorgeous in the fall, great for walking.
- If you want more lakeside walking beyond the Lakeshore Path on the UW-Madison, visit Lake Wingra (also out Monroe Street to the southwest, near Edgewood College) offers great autumn walking in Wingra Park and at the back of Edgewood's campus
- If you'll have children with you who like water parks, an hour north of Madison is Wisconsin Dells, filled with more (outdoor and indoor) water parks than you can count (try the indoor ones in October).
- If you're looking for the truly bizarre, you might want to tour the House on the Rock, in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, an hour west of Madison — an endless and fascinating collection of objects, from rare and beautiful to pure kitsch.
- Just southwest of Madison, in Blue Mounds, Wisconsin, is Cave of the Mounds.
- Devil's Lake State Park, in Baraboo, Wisconsin, 45 minutes north of Madison, features a beautiful lake, hiking trails, and striking cliffs (well, striking for the mountainless-Midwest).
- Also in Baraboo is the International Crane Foundation, a fascinating place to tour if you're interested in the restoration of endangered species.
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin, an hour and a half east of Madison, offers great culture, history, dining, and neighborhoods. On the shore of Lake Michigan, the new addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum, designed by Santiago Calatrava, is a stunning piece of architecture.
- For details about any of these places and many more, check out the Madison Visitors Bureau Web site or Wisconsin's office of tourism Web site.
Are there any restaurants in Madison?
Hard to believe, but yes there are. Hundreds of them, in fact, many within walking distance of the conference center and conference hotels, with a great range of cuisines and prices. When you arrive at the registration table in the Pyle Conference Center, you'll receive an extensive guide to Madison restaurants, written by local writing center colleagues. In case you'd like to read about Madison restaurants in advance, take a look at —
Do I need to rent a car?
In most cases, probably not. Madison is a great walking city, with most of what you'll want to do and a good variety of restaurants within easy walking distance of the Lowell and Pyle Centers. If, however, you—or others traveling with you—will want to do more sightseeing, then you will want to have a car.
What's the schedule going to be for the conference?
Please click here for a pdf of the conference schedule. Note: rooms may be subject to change. Please refer to the printed copy you receive when you arrive in Madison.On Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011, from 12:00 to 7:00 p.m. and Friday, Oct. 21, 2011, from 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM, we'll hold registration in the lobby of the Pyle Conference Center when you can say hello to some of the conference staff, ask questions, and pick up materials and your name tag. We will hold optional pre-conference workshops from 1:00 to 4:30 PM on Thursday afternoon, the 20th (additional registration fee required for the pre-conference workshops).
Concurrent sessions will run on all day on Friday the 21st and during the morning and afternoon on Saturday the 22nd. Friday's plenary lunch will feature Keynote Speaker Eric Darnel Pritchard, a professor from the Department of Rhetoric and Writing at the University of Texas at Austin. Late in the afternoon of Friday the 21st we will have special-interest group discussions. And Saturday afternoon's closing session will feature Professor Michele Eodice, Director of Learning, Teaching, and Writing at the University of Oklahoma.
What is the parking situation? I will be driving to the conference.
If you are staying at one of the conference hotels (Lowell Center, Campus Inn, Doubletree Hotel, Concourse hotel), you should arrange parking directly with your hotel when you make your reservations. If you are commuting to the conference, you may reserve campus parking through the Pyle Conference Center. Permit requests must be received online by The Pyle Center at least one week prior to the conference and are assigned to one of these lots: Lot 83, Lot 1, or Lot 6 (Campus parking map). (Lot #6 is at Helen C. White Hall, which is only two blocks from the Pyle Center.) There is also a city ramp at Francis and Lake Streets which charges $1.50/hour and is only two blocks away.
Other area hotels may provide parking for overnight guests, and many are within walking distance and/or offer shuttle services. We recommend that you check with your hotel for more information before you request a reserved parking permit for The Pyle Center.
How do I avoid a side trip to Iowa to see my parents?
Possible excuses: You'd hate to spread chronic wasting disease across the border? Your goldfish is planning major surgery and you must return home? You're sorry, but you'll be spending another week in Wisconsin in preparation for the big Halloween festivities in Madison?
What's the weather going to be like?
Impossible to tell in Wisconsin. The average high in the third week of October is just about 60 degrees, but the low temps are generally in the 30s. It could be warm and sunny. But then again, it could be cool, cloudy, and rainy. You know which we've put in an order for. Because of the range in temperatures, winds off the lake and variability of indoor climate controls, wearing layers and carrying an umbrella are your best bet. Here's a link for Madison forecasts Weather Underground, Madison.
Is there a list of used bookstores in Madison?
There are several used bookstores in the State Street area, including Avol's Book Store at 315 W. Gilman, Bookworks at 109 State Street, A Room of One's Own at 370 W Johnson St., Paul's at 670 State St., and the Underground Textbook Exchange at 664 State St. Another dozen are listed in the yellow pages.