Memorial Union and Student Activities Center, University of New Hampshire
QUICK FACTSUniversity of New Hampshire
Four-year, public, rural
Location: Durham, New Hampshire
Memorial Union and Student Activities
Year Built: 1957
Size: 142,000 sq. ft.
Student Staff: 130 part-time Nonstudent Staff: 13 full-time, one part-time
Memorial Union and Student Activities, or the MUB (Memorial Union Building), has always been a hot spot. When it was built in 1957 it was located on what students called Bonfire Hill, the place where pep rallies and student celebrations were held. It continues to be the gathering place for students today.
The MUB also is a political hot spot every election cycle. New Hampshire is the first state in the nation to hold presidential primaries, the university is the state’s flagship higher education institution, and the union is the largest non-athletic events space on campus. Therefore, this student union has served as a launchpad for presidential campaigns for more than a half-century, from John F. Kennedy to Joe Biden, with John McCain, Steve Forbes, and Howard Dean in between.
The Memorial Union is also the official war memorial for the state, and a third floor Memorial Room honors those with ties to the state or university who lost their lives in U.S. military service. A World War II veteran and former university art professor, John Hatch, designed the floor-to-ceiling tribute windows that run the length of one side of the room and are considered a one-of-a-kind piece of public art.
Also of note, the MUB was home to the first college campus 3D movie theater in the United States, and the union’s postal center handles over 119,000 packages each year. A food court, bookstore, computer repair depot, bean bag lounge, and computer cluster are some of the other amenities at the MUB. Additionally, with its 20 meeting spaces, the MUB hosts over 8,000 meetings each year and all primary admissions events, serving as the unofficial welcome center for the campus.
“There is no visitor center on campus so in addition to providing building and event information, staff at the MUB info desk very much play a role as the front door to the university,” said Nora Molloy, assistant director of operations. “We frequently remind students that they may be the only formal contact a prospective student or family has on campus if they don’t come through a formal admissions tour. We emphasize the impact our students can have on recruitment and enrollment for the university. It’s definitely not an ‘answer the phones and point to the room’ type of position.”
In fact, many of the building’s operations wholly depend on student staff. The 130 student employees work in the building and events services, the postal center, games room, student involvement office, ticket office, and the information and reception desks.
“In short, we’re the employer of choice on campus because we provide an employment experience where students are challenged and given a great deal of responsibility often with limited direct oversight,” Molloy said. The campus and the MUB will also host ACUI's Region VIII conference November 22–24.