UW-Baraboo/Sauk County fundraiser highlights student’s human trafficking research

April 18, 2018 GMT

A major fundraiser for the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County will highlight a student’s quest to bring public awareness to human trafficking throughout the state.

On Thursday evening, the university’s Friends of the Campus Foundation will host its 17th annual Grape and Gourmet Gala at Trappers Turn Golf Club in Wisconsin Dells. The celebration will feature fine wines, gourmet food, silent and live auctions, and a presentation about human trafficking from standout UW-Baraboo student Susan Bisch.

Funding from the Friends of the Campus Foundation and the university’s student government association paid for Bisch’s attendance at a conference on human trafficking in Denver earlier this month.

Bisch also is conducting an honors project with a partner on the topic this semester.

“We want to express to the community how important it is to be aware of human trafficking because it happens in Wisconsin,” she said. “I did a few research projects for individual classes, as well as speeches, and right now I’m working on the honors project.”

Friends of the Campus Foundation Board President Tim Teelin said the evening is intended to showcase the university, along with its dedicated faculty and students. Each year, the organization interviews students to share their story at the gala and explain why they chose to attend UW-Baraboo.

Teelin said Bisch was a standout for several reasons. While she hails from Evansville, she chose to attend the university to connect with her dad’s family, who live in Baraboo. She also received funding from the Friends of the Campus group to enhance her education opportunities.

“Our mission is to support students and faculty that attend the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County,” Teelin said. “Usually that pertains to scholarships, but not always. We have pursued other opportunities for students that have advanced the educational experience here, and this was clearly one of them.”

Teelin said the Friends of the Campus group hopes to raise $60,000 from the gala to be used for scholarships and other educational opportunities. Despite the upcoming merger of UW-Baraboo and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Teelin said all funds raised by the Friends of the Campus Foundation will continue to benefit local students and faculty.

“No organization or university group can dictate to us as to where we channel our funds to support our campus,” he said. “All of the funding will stay at UW-Baraboo. It is our organization, and it is the Friends of the Campus organization that is hosting the event and raising the money.”

While the deadline to purchase tickets for the event has passed, Teelin said those interested in attending still can reserve a seat by calling the university at 608-356-2318.