Student Union is needed

staff.editorial and staff.editorial

NMU’s University Center has its problems – at least from the viewpoint of students. There’s the poor parking, less than adequate accommodations and the “who’s going to get the room reserved first?” battle with community members who rent out the banquet halls for weddings, seminars and awards dinners.
For students involved in extracurricular activities located in the UC, the situation is less than ideal. And since the University Center is the facility on campus that houses the majority of student groups, this affects more than a handful of students.
Thankfully, NMU has finally provided a solution, in the form of the proposed Campus Master Plan’s student union building. The student union building is slated to be located between the LRC and Hedgcock, in the location that is currently parking lot number 28. The new union would be substantially larger than the UC, a facility that simply doesn’t meet student needs.
Aside from the parking and the accommodations, Northern’s current take on a student union building is different from similar universities’ facilities in yet another aspect – the environment. In a place that was meant to be a hub of student involvement, the UC instead has become a hub of community involvement, causing students to feel alienated in what should be their building.
The renting of campus facilities is understandable, however. It’s obvious that allowing community members into those spaces brings in revenue to a funding-starved university. Often the rooms that are rented out are the Great Lakes Rooms, the same rooms that First Aid Productions and Platform Personalities use to provide NMU students with entertainment. Entertainment provided, that is, if the space is available.
But the question that needs to be asked, and was asked throughout the process of the recent Master Plan is, “What will do the most good for the most people on campus?” In this case, building a student union building, and doing it soon, makes the most sense.
So, on behalf of the student organizations, including the groups who wish to use university space for functions, and the students who wish to attend activities in a student-use facility, we’d like to say thank you, Master Plan committee, for placing a new Student Union on the proposed master plan. It’s a facility that’s long been needed on campus, and we only hope that future NMU students will receive the benefits we did not.