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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Union campaign kicks off, aims to renovate, rebuild outdated buildings

UW-Madison's Student Union Initiative campaign kicked off Wednesday at Memorial Union in an effort to gain support for the Associated Students of Madison elections Oct. 18-19. 


Under the slogan, ""Preserving the past; Building the future,"" SUI's focus is to preserve and enhance Memorial Union, while completely rebuilding Union South. 


""The fact that this initiative in and of itself is totally driven by students is unique,"" said Wisconsin Union Director Mark Guthier. ""[The Union Directors] are not the ones who give this union its heart and soul. It's the student body."" 


In 1928, when Memorial Union first opened, the UW-Madison student body was approximately 8,000, according to the SUI website. With enrollment exceeding 41,000 today, Memorial Union is no longer equipped for the needs of students.  


Guthier also said Memorial Union has not received a major overhaul since it was built 78 years ago. Memorial Union isn't up to code on fire safety and wheelchair accessibility, and has its original electrical wiring, original plumbing and no central air conditioning. 


""I talked to my mom, who's an [alumnae] here, and she told me how great the union was,"" said John Sinclair, UW-Madison junior and SUI communications manager. ""Now I come here probably 25 years later and things haven't changed. It's a great building but nothing's been updated, nothing's been improved."" 


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Should the plan pass, the cost for students will be an extra $48 in segregated fees per semester beginning in fall 2007 until spring 2009, increasing to $96 per semester each subsequent year for up to 30 years.  


Shanya Hetzel, UW-Madison senior and Wisconsin Union president, said that now is the time for the student body to leave a legacy. 


""We get to decide the fate of the Wisconsin Union,"" Hetzel said. 


For more information, visit the SUI website at:

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