Excuse the Backstreet Boys reference. This past week I scrambled to put together a design structure proposal for yesterday’s Union Council meeting. Over the past month, I consulted surveys taken of the New South Campus Union design process and also met with many folks who were instrumental in the process. Factoring in all the criticisms and highlights, I came up with a framework that I thought alleviated many of the past problems. Preemptively, though, I recognized the challenges that my proposal created. It’s a good thing we have many critical eyes on Union Council who put my proposal through the ringer. For context, here is the diagram that I presented:
I’ll save you the explanation of this diagram and cut to the chase. The proposal was deemed a bit unwieldy and subsequently torn apart.
We didn’t come to any hard and fast resolution, yet. But that’s okay. These things happen. A group of us will be getting together over the next month and a half to hash out the details and come up with something better to approve at the January Union Council meeting. The goal is to have the Design Committee in place before architects come on board for the Memorial Union Renovation, starting early next semester.
The big win for the project was the approval of the furniture (finally). Rest assured, we will now have furniture in the building (whew), not that it would ever be otherwise.
Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of heading up to Minneapolis with members of the Advance Team to check out the Coffman Memorial Union at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. We met with staff from Coffman to talk about planning for the opening of a new building. The staff shared their experiences from moving back into Coffman when they renovated it in 2003.
While I was at Coffman, I had a chance to sit in on the weekly meeting of U of M’s student programming board. I learned that the Wisconsin Union as an organization is a lot more complex than most other student unions. Another thing I realized is that it is hard to not have a bias against other unions when you have invested so much time into the success of your own.
This brings me to the next part of our trip, the UW-River Falls University Center. We visited River Falls on our way back from Minneapolis to benchmark sustainability features at their union. It was also nice to see the River Falls University Center in the flesh because it was built by Workshop Architects, who are building the New South Campus Union. I was better able to visualize what our new union is going to look like. It gave me some piece of mind to see how well their union turned out, which makes me even more excited for ours.
These will give you a better idea of what I’m talking about:
It wasn’t all work, no play, though. Between union visits we were able to take some time out and enjoy ourselves:
Here are some shots of the whole team:
The Wisconsin Union Directorate (WUD) sits on the 5th floor of the Union. Inspiration struck me this afternoon to photograph some of the students (and staff) that are helping plan how WUD will function in the new south campus union. Take a look at some of these candid moments from this dreary Thursday:
Could you see your face alongside these great folks?
Last Monday, Oct. 19, Hoofers President Paul Davidsaver conducted a program visioning retreat regarding the new union with about 50 other Hoofers leaders. Paul gave a broad overview of the project including some history and a review of the floor plans. He said those in attendance were able to think about the new union “with and without their ‘Hoofers’ hats’ on.” The retreat was highly successful because the Hoofers were able to think about the new building not just in regards to what it allows for Hoofers but for the Union and student body as a whole. It was great to have such a diversity of opinions working through some of these broader questions we continue to chip away at internally.
Take a look at some photos from the retreat:
With two retreats under our belts, we are getting a little closer to determining how WUD (and Hoofers) will operate in the new building. Keep coming back for more updated and exciting visuals.
On Saturday morning I rolled out of bed at 7:30am to trek across campus to Engineering Mall for Badger Bash. Outreach team members John and Brigid helped me hand out free hot chocolate and talk about the NSCU with the game day crowd. It was a great chance to bring the project to the people.
Note to self: get two five-gallon jugs of hot chocolate next time. Our supply ran out after the first hour. The second hour we had to turn up the charm and chat with folks while handing out Wisconsin Union Initiative buttons. All in all, a great success.
It was a busy weekend on the building project front. I held a meeting with the building project student outreach team in lieu of riding on the WUD float in the Homecoming Parade. I have managed to schedule meetings two years in a row now during the Homecoming Parade. What a coincidence!
At the outreach team meeting we established what we think students want to know about the building and how we are going to get that information to them. Our first order of business was establishing 5 different guerilla marketing campaigns that each outreach team member will head up. Not to spoil the surprise but we have plans to get a Babcock Ice Cream flavor named after the project…
Expect to see these faces more. These folks will be doing a lot of crazy things this year to bring the project to you.