Reviving the Memorial Union’s Birthday, 67 years on.
The Washburn Memorial Union turns one year older Monday, Dec. 3. It has certainly been a minute, but Washburn is celebrating soon. At 67 years old, the union has been around a long time with the LLC and others being added over the years.
Director of the Memorial Union Becky Bolte spoke about the history of the Memorial Union and how and why it was first thought up and created.
“The students wanted a place, and they came together and got the money to build that first part of the memorial, and that’s when in 1951 they had 3 dollars per student per semester. For students back in 1951 that’s a load of money compared to now. They came together and said we want a memorial/student union. They wanted an actual building versus just a memorial,” Bolte said.
She also gave reasoning for the university to build the union as a whole, not just the student population.
“They wanted a place for veterans to go to and students to congregate… There were alumni and students who served in World War 2 and many lost their lives, so they started discussions in 1946 to erect a war memorial building on campus, and Dr. Brian Stauffer was in favor,” Bolte said.
They didn’t want the memorial union to function as a living memorial to function for generations then and generations succeeding it. Like many other buildings on campus, the Union has evolved over the years, and for instance, the ballroom used to be the cafeteria with additional things downstairs.
Becky also discussed why they’re specifically celebrating the 67th anniversary.
“Its not a big birthday meaning it’s not the 50th or the 60th or the 75th… I’ve been here four years, it’s the first time it’s on a day of the week that we can celebrate… They used to celebrate. One year they did a big cake that was the memorial union, but then again it was that original building. So this is the first year since I’ve been here that we’ve done it. We’re bringing it back. We’re reviving the the Memorial Union birthday,” she said.
Then, Bolte went into detail about what is going to be occurring Dec. 3. She said they will have a hot chocolate bar, they will be giving away coffee mugs and ice scrapers, and there will be live entertainment.
“There’s a jazz band that’ll be here. We’ve got the gingerbread house [across from the corner store], they’re selling birthday cupcakes at the c-store [corner store] and the union market. So from 11-1:30 is all of that, then the bookstore starts their part they do 1:30 to 3,” Bolte said.
Overall, one shouldn’t miss celebrating the Memorial Union’s 67th birthday, especially with the incentive of a free coffee mug, as you can never have too many, or an ice scraper. It is definitely interesting to hear students coming together with the university to fund a building that everyone on campus has a use for, and still use today, almost 70 years later.