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: