It’s one remarkable run. For five decades, Madison South Rotary has operated an all-volunteer brat stand across the street from Camp Randall (near the railroad tracks on Regent Street) during home UW football games. In doing so, it has raised well over $1 million dollars for dozens of non-profit groups in south Madison, as well as college scholarships. In addition, a tip jar added in more recent years has pumped thousands more dollars to Polio Plus vaccines.
When the UW Badgers play their first home game in late August, Madison South Rotary will be there again to open its Brat Stand for the 51st year. It’s possible because the Club, in effect, runs a small business with 0 labor costs, funneling all profits to support people in need.
“I grew up learning to give back by spending my time volunteering at the Madison South Rotary Brat Stand,” said Megan Keller, one of the newest and youngest members of Madison South Rotary. “It grew my passion for Rotary and made me feel like a valued member of the community.” Megan currently serves the Club as Sergeant-at -Arms.
It’s that kind of spirit that fuels the brat stand operations, which is no easy task. There are many balls in the air to make this happen, including the City permitting process, set-up, the proper ordering food and beverages, scheduling volunteers for set up, grilling, food and beverage serving, clean-up, etc.
“Every minute I am there, I know I am helping a student who has struggled and overcome more than I can imagine,” says Madison South member Laurie Schwartz.  “I am proud that we don't ask questions about immigration in order to apply, but rather look at the effort of youth who otherwise have no support from traditional scholarship programs. I volunteer to give kids hope who believe there are people in the world like us.”
Anybody who’s ever been to the brat stand knows there’s a palpable camaraderie there. The volunteers are having fun, and enjoying the experience, happy that they are able to contribute to an important cause.
“When you think of the positive impact the proceeds create in our community, you don’t think of it as an obligation or an expectation. You see it as an opportunity,” says John Deininger, a Madison South member and longtime brat stand volunteer. 
The entire Club makes the operation function but it requires a leader at the helm, which the Club refers to as its “Brat Czar.” That leader typically takes the reins for multiple seasons, training the next Czar to take responsibility in a subsequent year.
Somehow, the formula works because football revelers will again enjoy a brat and a beer at the Brat Stand this season and our community will be better for it.
See you there!
Author: Steve Busalacchi