On the first night of our trip, we had the opportunity to visit the University of Wisconsin-Madison Memorial Union, which overlooks a lake in Madison. I think it was the consensus of the students that this was an awesome venue for a Union and we appreciated what they had going on there. We were able to visit with the Union Director there and he explained to us that they have concerts there each night and different outdoor events throughout the year. The environment was awesome. They had a little stand outside the Union where you could buy beer and food and sit outside to enjoy the concert or other event. Also, I personally enjoyed learning that they had preserved the Union since it was first constructed in the 1920’s.
On Thursday morning, we were able to see the Union South. Their emphasis on allowing natural light into the building was what struck me. In my opinion, it made the building seem much more open. Two of the coolest things I have seen in a Union were a rock climbing wall and a bowling alley in the bottom of the Union. The man working in the bowling alley told me the place is always packed and students come to bowl all the time. I would love to see something like that in our new facility. They also had billiards in the same area as the bowling alley, and it seemed like it would be awesome if we could combine both the billiards in our syndicate with a new bowling facility. The last thing that stuck out to me was a multi-use eating room/performance hall/hang-out area where students could not only eat but watch performances, study, or just hang out with friends. The area was designed so it could be roped off and tickets could be sold for events in there.
I also enjoyed seeing that UW-Madison had constructed a separate building that housed both SGA and other Student Organizations, as well as Financial Aid, the Health Center and a host of other things.
After touring the UW-Madison Union, we took a road trip to see the UW-Steven’s Point Union. Two things I took away from that Union were that students had the ability to rent textbooks at no cost because of a segregated $75 fee incorporated into tuition and fees and the other was this grungy, club-style room where students could come hang out, have a beer, and listen to a performance or comedian or other speaker. I was slightly disappointed overall in the Union, but those were two things I enjoyed.
On Friday, we made our trek to Ohio State and toured the Ohio Union. This building was absolutely amazing. From the Senate Chamber equipped with full voting capabilities to the Grand Ballroom capable of seating 3,000 students to the brand image of OSU seen throughout the building to the eating places to the history and art found throughout the building, I absolutely felt that OSU had done it right. We were welcomed to OSU with a full-course meal courtesy of OSU catering. At that time, we had the opportunity to speak with the Assistant Vice President who oversaw the Union and ask her plenty of necessary questions. We found out that virtually every meeting room was subsidized with money provided by a donor and that there was a theme in each room. The history of OSU was just seen throughout that building and I’d like to see that incorporated in our new facility. It seemed to me that each nook and cranny of that place was utilized and students definitely had a positive, fresh environment they could be proud of.
Student Body President
Student Government Association
University of North Texas
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