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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Union celebrates 55 years

    The Student Union Memorial Center houses in its bell tower one of two bells preserved from the U.S.S. Arizona battleship that was attacked and sank in the attack of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.  The student union also contains art displays, sculptures and reliefs dedicated to the United States Armed Forces. This year marks the 55th straight year that the UA has had a student union on campus.
    The Student Union Memorial Center houses in its bell tower one of two bells preserved from the U.S.S. Arizona battleship that was attacked and sank in the attack of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. The student union also contains art displays, sculptures and reliefs dedicated to the United States Armed Forces. This year marks the 55th straight year that the UA has had a student union on campus.

    You’re invited to a birthday party.

    The Arizona Student Unions will be celebrating their 55th anniversary on the UA Mall in front of the stage from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. today.

    The outdoor festivities include birthday cake, a visit from Wilbur and Wilma, performances by the UA steel band, a prize wheel and a giant birthday card for students to sign, said Kathy Adams-Riester, events coordinator for the student union.

    Former and present student union directors and former and present UofA Bookstore directors will also be present for the celebration, Adams-Riester said.

    “”I hope students come help us celebrate,”” Adams-Riester said. “”Fifty-five years is a long time, and we are excited about that.””

    Kay Brown, a member of the board of directors for the UA Alumni Association who was a UA student from 1978 to 1983, said the former union building was much smaller, with cafeteria-style dining and a basement with a post office.

    “”It was very charming, but the technology didn’t accommodate the students, and it needed to be modernized,”” Brown said.

    The Arizona Student Unions have come a long way since the student movement in the early 1990s for the new Student Union Memorial Center, said Nick Adamakis, marketing director of the student union.

    During the construction of the new Student Union Memorial Center from 1999 to 2003, numerous programs to enhance student involvement were developed, including Arizona Blue Chip leadership group and the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, Adamakis said.

    The showcasing of the historical significance of the U.S.S. Arizona bell makes the new student union a living memorial to the UA community, Adamakis said.

    “”One of the most beautiful things about the new union is that now you can see the bell, and it has such a great story behind it,”” Brown said.

    The former union building opened Nov. 17, 1951, and cost about $1 million. It was dedicated with the ringing of the U.S.S. Arizona Bell.

    Even after 55 years, the current student union, which cost $60 million to build, serves as an important central gathering place for UA students, Brown said.

    “”The union is a really important central focus because it belongs to all students,”” Brown said. “”Students can meet and gather, and it’s accessible to everyone.””

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