Volume 78 | Issue 6
November 2010

University of Delaware, University Student Centers

University of Delaware
Four-year, public, state-assisted/privately funded
Full-time school enrollment: 15,140
Location: Newark, Del.

University Student Centers
Director: Marilyn S. Prime
Annual budget: $8 million
Student staff: 44 (part-time); 4 (graduate assistants)
Nonstudent staff: 24 (full-time)

John A Perkins Student Center
Build: 1958
Size: 154,000 sq. ft.
Floors: 4

E. Arthur Trabant University Center

Built: 1996
Size 107,000 sq. ft.
Floors: 3

According to the University of Delaware’s student newspaper, The Review, when the first union finally opened on campus, “decades of hope will be realized.” Upon opening in 1958, the union offered dining halls, a snack bar, a library, barber shop, bank, bowling and billiards, and much more. However, the university’s enrollment kept climbing, and the building did not remain adequate. Through the years, the building underwent renovations to meet the needs of the campus. In 1985, it was rededicated and named the John Alanson Perkins Student Center after the university’s 21st president.
For all its perks, the Perkins Student Center may also have a downside.

“The Perkins Student Center is rumored to have been built on land that served as a former graveyard,” said Director Marilyn Prime. “Many students and staff tell of hearing unusual noises, feeling cold sensations, seeing ghosts, and having lights flicker off and on throughout the facility, but especially in the lower level.”

While the Perkins Student Center continued being tweaked until its most recent renovation in 1996, plans were made to build a new union to further support the campus community. The Trabant University Center officially opened in April 1996, named after another former university president.
Unique features
Prime believes that the best features about the unions are that there are two of them. 

“Each brings its own unique style, look, and feel to the campus,” she said. “Trabant is well known for being the central hang-out space on campus and the hub of our major student organizations as well as hosting a wide variety of entertainment in our largest programming space. Perkins offers an eclectic mix of union traditions, including our campus radio station, our newspaper, a sports/billiards lounge, gallery space, the bookstore, and coffeehouse location.”

Students’ role

Students are the “lifeblood of our two centers, which are filled during the day and throughout the evening with student activity,” Prime said. “There are group meetings, programs, and just students hanging out every single night in both locations. Students help guide the mission and goals of the centers in a variety of capacities through student government, boards, councils, and committees.”

One spot students can often be found is the Hen Zone. A games room, the Hen Zone is a place to relax, unwind, and socialize. Games available include billiards, table tennis, foosball, air hockey, and console games.

“Students also play an integral role in the daily operation serving as associates at the information desk and Hen Zone game room,” Prime said. “Our student technicians provide audio-visual support, and 10 paraprofessionals serve as night/weekend building managers.”

The University of Delaware programming board is called the Student Center Programming Advisory Board, and is often referred to by its acronym, SCPAB (pronounced “skuh-pab”). Years ago, a student had an idea for a band to perform on campus and was told to speak to “Skip Habb”; however, this person did not exist on campus and the advisory board was stumped when she tried to locate him. Then, someone realized that she had heard Skip Habb when someone referenced the programming board’s acronym. From there, the SCPAB’s mascot Skip Habb was created—an animated concert ticket.

With its mascot, the programming board along with student groups and councils work to bring a variety of programs to campus. A series called UD Speaks has featured Mia Hamm, Anderson Cooper, and Colin Powell. Other events include concerts and comedy acts by performers such as Jason Miraz, John Leguizamo, Maroon 5, Ludacris, Jon Stewart, Daniel Tosh, and the Black Eyed Peas.