August 17, 2020 | By Sari Judge | Back to news

Startup Mask

It will be a different kind of semester for the first-year students who have chosen the StartUp Learning Community to be their home for the 2020-2021 academic year. It will be a semester shaped by masks, regular COVID-19 testing, and predominantly virtual learning. But StartUp students are resilient, and we are thrilled to welcome 60 UW-Madison freshmen to the second floor of Sellery Hall this fall. This self-selected group, all with a professed interest in starting something, will have the opportunity to live and learn together, while enthusiastically exploring the wild and wonderful world of innovation and entrepreneurship.

From late night brainstorming sessions in the community lounge (from a safe distance, of course), to enrollment in our StartUp-exclusive seminar, to virtual tours of Madison’s premier e-ship spaces, our students are poised to hit the UW-Madison campus running when it comes to entrepreneurial action. They will be meeting with student entrepreneurs, successful Madison-area startups, and will be invited to join in on the Weinert Center’s fantastic Distinguished Entrepreneurship Lunch program every Wednesday.

Yes, it will be a different experience than in years past. But it’s precisely the skills they will learn on the floor that will help them to navigate the uncertainty 2020 has brought along with it. Lifelong friendships can be kindled in masks. Dream Big grants can be awarded over Zoom. And I don’t put it past any one of our students to come up with the next coveted piece of PPE or innovative way to pool COVID tests.

As always, and perhaps this year more than ever, StartUp is looking for ways to connect its current residents with alumni in the entrepreneurship community. If you are interested in becoming more involved—from six feet apart or from anywhere in the world over Zoom—feel free to contact Faculty Director John Surdyk at or Program Coordinator Sari Judge at