Hundreds of students flooded the first floor of Memorial Union as its doors and familiar spaces reopened to the public Monday for a Finals Frenzy celebration.
Businesses that were in the building before construction began in 2012—Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Badger Market and The Daily Scoop—welcomed customers again. Wisconsin Union President Deshawn McKinney said the aesthetics of the shops have been upgraded and the floor now has more open space and areas for seating.
“It allows for a lot more free flowing movement,” McKinney said. “It really helps students work on building community and feel like this is a space where people can come and organically engage with each other and engage with what's happening throughout for the floor.”
More dining options, including Der Rathskeller, will be fully operating in spring.
Wisconsin Union Communications Director Shauna Breneman said Memorial Union will—for the first time—be accessible for guests with any physical challenge. Breneman and McKinney said they also made sure to think sustainably while constructing the space.
McKinney said his goal for the space is to make it a place for all students to visit. He wants to make people aware that Memorial Union is an active space by educating everyone about the various Wisconsin Union Directorate committees.
“I think what it means for everybody is new possibilities,” McKinney said. “We’re trying to make sure that all student identities are represented and they feel like home here. Now we can move that process forward in new, exciting ways.”