The Michigan Union celebrated its centennial on Wednesday with cupcakes and a birthday card on the Diag. The Union has been a gathering space for students on campus since its creation in 1919, but the building has been under construction and closed to visitors since April 2018.
The Center for Campus Involvement hosted the event. LSA senior Sarah Hussain works as a program coordinator team lead with the Center for Campus Involvement. She said despite the building not being open on its 100th year of existence on campus, the center felt it was important to keep the Union alive in students’ minds while undergoing construction.
“We knew that the 100th birthday was coming up and as a committee we all talked about some things we can do to keep its memory alive and get people excited about the reopening and keep it on the forefront of people’s minds, especially knowing that we have a couple grades of classes who have maybe never even been in the Union as a student here, so we wanted to keep it relevant,” Hussain said. “Knowing that it was going to turn 100 while it was closed, we decided we wanted to do at least something to commemorate that, so I just helped generate some ideas signing the birthday cards and having the block M out here for people to talk about.”
Hussain is also on the symbolic programming committee, which works to bring awareness to the historic past of the buildings on campus, while also celebrating the milestones of these buildings.
The committee put on events for the closing of the Union in 2018, as well as a halfway point of construction, which Hussain said were especially important to her because of how much she loved the Union. She spent many hours absorbed in her studies in the Union prior to its reconstruction.
“The sophomore year that I spent 17 hours in the building one day… I loved the Union,” Hussain said. “I worked there, I would study there, I would grab meals there, so it definitely was a little hard not having it for my whole junior year. I’m so happy it’ll be open when I graduate.”
Laura Seagram, the director of account services for auxiliary marketing and communications said she was very excited to help with and attend this event. She mentioned that the construction plans were running earlier than expected.
“We feel really good that we can meet that date and we had all been saying winter for 2020 before, but now I think we’re comfortable in saying this coming January,” Seagram said. “It’s exciting.”
LSA junior Nithin Weerasinghe discussed his excitement for the birthday celebration as well as the reopening of the Union.
“I think it’'s going to be really nice to have it back,” Weerasinghe said. “I know a lot of people studied there down at the cafes and I think a lot of clubs also used the space.”