September Cover
Volume 81 | Issue 5
September 2013

Union Spotlight: Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center, Macalaster College

Macalester Info Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center, Macalaster College



The Campus Center opened in 2001, named in honor of Ruth Stricker Dayton, Macalester College Class of 1957.

“Ruth serves on Macalester College’s Board of Trustees, has been president of our Alumni Board, and received the Alumni Board’s Distinguished Citizen Citation in 1987,” said Director Cindy Haarstad.
Since opening, the Campus Center has been renovated twice.

“The first renovation turned an incredibly large storage room into a student games room,” Haarstad said. “The building was built with adequate storage, but the students quickly saw much better use for the space.”

Earlier this year, more space adjacent to the games room became available, and it was expanded.

Unique Features

According to Haarstad, the Campus Center atrium generally receives a lot of attention from visitors.
“It is an open space with tons of natural daylight and wonderful glass sculptures hanging below the skylight,” she said. “‘Glass Tensegrity Trusses’ by artist James Capenter is a skylight sculpture in the atrium that brings a constantly changing play of light into the Campus Center.”

The Campus Center also has a unique governing and funding system. It is not student fee-funded nor student-governed.

“The Campus Center is funded through the college. The only money our department generates is through conferences and facility rentals, and this revenue goes back into the college’s general fund,” Haarstad said. “Additionally, the Campus Center and Conferences staff does not have an official governing system. We do not have a union board. However, we do work closely with student employees, student leaders, and general students to make decisions about the building.”

Students’ Role

“To put it simply, the students provide life to our building,” Haarstad said.

More than 80 student employees assist in service areas, staff the building, and support events. And that does not include the many more who are patrons of the Campus Center each day.

Among the various locations students enjoy are the outdoor Bateman Plaza, the atrium, and The Loch games room.


The Campus Center hosts a variety of events throughout the year. Each March, Founder’s Day celebrates the college’s history with a semi-formal event for the entire campus community offering live music, food, and dancing.

In 2011, Macalester celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Campus Center by hosting a birthday party perfect for 10-year-olds. The event included balloons, cupcake decorating, face painting, and a magician.