Badger Talks Live alleviating the stress of a pandemic 

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A screenshot of a "Badger Talks Live" Episode

Eimy Gonzalez, Staff Writer

Seven months have passed since COVID19 was declared a pandemic. Since then, Badger Talks has evolved to support the Wisconsin population by alleviating this stressful time through a brand-new online series called “Badger Talks Live.”   

As it is well known, Badger Talks has brought innumerable events of great relevance to Wisconsin. It is one of several outreach programs that occur under UW connects as a way to inform the state of relevant topics and the latest discoveries. This programming has an average of 400 speakers available from the UW faculty and staff and presents about 200 events per year. 

Unfortunately, the number of in-person event has suffered due to the pandemic. The uncertainty motivated the Badger Talks staff to move their resources into a live stream series. At the time, determining an approach for the show was a challenge. The country was confronting a variety of issues and even though there were talks ready to dissect these happenings, the series assumed a different twist.  

The staff behind Badger Talks Live decided to offer a more entertaining variety of topics. The purpose was to help the community cope with the challenges they are facing. “We thought it would be nice to position it as a series that is more entertaining and enjoyable for people to just have a break from current happenings,” said Fran PuleoAssistant Director of the outreach program.  

Initially, when the program commenced back in April, the attendance to the talks were low. Nevertheless, as more people became aware of this initiative, the excitement grew, and the record escalated to over 5,000 views. So far, these numbers have not wavered, though they may vary from live attendance to viewing the session afterwards.  

Badger Talks Live has gone beyond offering fun topics or helpful resources. The amount of interaction within the program creates an escape for the viewers. Since every subject is addressed live, it becomes an open space to ask any question and make comments. The speaker is able to make direct contact, raising questions between the viewers and encouraging to share their thoughts.  

Live classes are also offered. Under the Badger Talks Live page the links for past lessons such as ballroom dancing or painting can be found, as well as the calendar for upcoming events. According to Puleo, even if it’s not gathering in the same room, this sort of interaction creates a group experience as it involves the thrill of assembling the materials to learn something new and share with others.  

The population is eager to see the last days of the pandemic fade and return to their everyday lives. But what will happen to Badger Talks Live? it seems that as long as viewers keep consistent and enjoying the information, the series will keep progressing. Badger Talks Live still has a long way ahead and a box full of surprises for Wisconsin to discover after the pandemic.  

Badger Talks Live has weekly shows that can be streamed through the Facebook page of UW Connects. If you miss one of your favorite topics you can find it under the YouTube or the official page of Badger Talks to watch any time. 

For more information regarding UW connects programming and Badger Talks Live, you can visit: https://uwconnects.wisc.edu/