Posted August 23, 2011 by Elizabeth Stringer, Justin Rudisille, and Gillian Thiebe 

ACUI Campus Tour Day Five: Everyday I'm Shufflin'

The sun woke up and so did we. This morning, we headed to our first and only historically black university, North Carolina A&T State University, located in Greensboro, N.C.

We met with Carl Baker, the director of the Memorial Student Union. We saw his current facility, and also learned of his hopes for a renovation in the coming years that would provide the campus with a state-of-the-art union. That said, the current union has a lot to offer:

  • A dining facility called Aggies Sit-In, which reflects on the history of the institution and the civil rights movement; the Greensboro Four went to the university and have residence halls named in their honor as well
  • The games room offers billiards, gaming, and a general television lounge
  • Just inside the building's main entrance, a mural depicting student life on campus shows the importance of the building
The Memorial Union hosts and plans many activities during orientation and welcome week, including a dating game, RecFest, and a comedy show among other various academic-based events.
Thank you, Carl, for being such a gracious host; it was great to see your union and hear your story.
Next, we drove across the city to visit the University of North Carolina-Greensboro on the first day of classes. For the first few weeks of school, around 600 people will come through one set of doors at the Elliott University Center per hour. Thus, the union plays a large role in both acclimating new students to campus and welcoming returning students.
Kathleen McGirty gave us a tour of the University Center, which included:
  • A meditation room that offered a large open space with several partitioned areas that allowed for personal reflection
  • The Dail Room, from which all admissions tours depart, ensuring that future students understand the importance of the union on campus
  • Back of the house space on all levels that impressed ACUI Past President Winston Shindell when he toured the center years ago
While we were on campus, we connected with Director William Parrish to walk through the Fall Kick Off, which is a student organization and campus information fair. Students flooded the area outside the union where student organizations, athletics, greek life, departments, and some academic offices had tables. This added to the high traffic in the union of students using wireless Internet, eating, or just stopping to talk with a friend on the first day of school.
William and Kathleen, we thank you both for your hospitality.
Our next stop was a trip to meet with James Buckley at the Benson University Center at Wake Forest University. The University Center, though built in 1990, still looked very new and offered several unique features:
  • The switchboard for the entire university was managed through the University Center operations
  • Student employees had their lounge own space; a tradition in this room is for graduating student employees to sign the wall
  • An in-house copy center provides services to the entire campus; soon to be added is a self-operated monogramming service
We were on campus prior to students; in fact, we saw a training activity for orientation leaders in progress on the steps of the building. The University Center student managers were participating in training, preparing for the start of the new year by learning about customer service and the FISH! philosophy. When move in and welcome week does happen, many events will be hosted in the Benson University Center, including the student services fair, where students are required to checkin and retrieve their residence hall keys before being able to move in.
We appreciate the time you took during the training sessions to give us a tour, James.
Our final stop today was Appalachian State University, so we took Fancy Cami into the mountains of Boone, N.C. We were greeted by Brad Vest, Dave Robertson, Jenny Koehn, and a few students leaders. It was wonderful to once again sit down with students and discuss their roles on campus. The Plemmons Student Union is currently undergoing an addition, but the current facility boasts many great features, including:
  • In support of the campuses Renewable Energy Initiative, the building features a pulper system, recycling containers on every corner, and a solar thermal system on the roof
  • Greenbriar Theater has unique offerings of its own, including a collection of historical 3D photos from classic films and two full arm rests for every seat in the house
  • Legends Nightclub offers a large programming venue for a variety of campus activities; when allowed, of age students are able to bring their own beer
We arrived in campus at the tail end of welcome week. An international student welcome reception was finishing up, but the larger events happened over the weekend. In addition to sustainability, the union is serious about community service; the Appalachian and the Community Together (ACT) plans events throughout the year, but the Big Sale is a welcome week tradition. At the close of each academic year, ACT collects unwanted items from students, then sells these items during the Big Sale. This year, the event made $19,701.04, which is used to benefit four local nonprofit groups as well as fund a student scholarship.
Thank you to the whole team from Appalachian State; you each really offered a distinct perspective during our tour.
Five days and 16 schools down. We are on the verge of concluding this amazing trip and are looking forward to those we will be meeting soon.
Campus Tour 2011
 
Elizabeth Stringer

Elizabeth Stringer is the Senior Manager of Marketing & Communication at ACUI.

Justin Rudisille

Justin Rudisille is the Director of Volunteer & Member Engagement at ACUI.

Justin coordinates the recruitment, training, and recognition initiatives for volunteers at all levels, as well as oversees research initiatives. He liaises with ACUI’s regions, the Volunteer Development Team, the Research Program Team, the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education, the College Union and Student Activities (CUSA) evaluation program, and the awards and scholarships programs.

Gillian Thiebe

Gillian Thiebe is the SUNAPSIS Business Manager at Indiana University–Bloomington.

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