Man this place is nice! It's the first time I've been here since I attended the opening ceremony in December, when picketers from AFSCME and the Student Labor Action Coalition interrupted speeches by Biddy Martin and Jim Doyle in protest of the use of non-union labor in the private wing of the building. (I know, if you read conservative columnists you'd believe that Jim Doyle would do anything to give unions everything they want)
That non-unionized labor just provided me a mediocre Italian sub at Aldo's Cafe. I'm definitely not drawing a link between the labor and the sandwich, in fact I came here to get away from the union-made (or partially union-made since the student workers aren't unionized) sandwiches at Memorial Union.
But this place really is something. I highly recommend checking it out, if only to get a coffee and to marvel at the grandeur.
Many people are naturally uncomfortable with UW's unrelenting hunger for ever-more lavish facilities. As much as I hope that donors are more interested in funding scholarships than fountains that gush 24-7, the truth is that beautiful buildings like these go a long way in advancing the image of the university and attracting the best students, researchers and educators. At the end of the day, the Humanities building sucks, precisely because it is the type of place that only a government would build.