By: Gabriel Donahue, Assistant Editor, and Alisha Hancock, Associate Editor
Photo by: Alex Wright / Towson University
An opening ceremony was held in the University Union at Towson University (TU) to celebrate the completion of phase one of a two-phase renovation project on April 7.
Phase one of the project involved expanding the Union by 85,000 square feet, which made space for a new food market, movie theater, and meeting rooms that campus clubs can utilize.
President Kim Schatzel cut a gold ribbon to commemorate the progress made and invite students, faculty, and staff into the “brand new ‘U.’”
“Unions are the heart and should be the soul of a campus, and they connect the entire university community,” Schatzel said. “Unions are the place that brings students together … Well, Towson University now—now—has a Union that fits the Towson University of 2022.”
Students agree with Schatzel’s declaration that the Union is a hub for student activity.
“This is the most I’ve seen people in one place, and I think it’s really nice because I think it’s breaking out freshmen since there’s a lot of people interacting,” freshman Imani Pickett said of the Union renovation and ceremony.
Dr. Vernon Hurte, TU’s vice president of student affairs, also gave a speech at the opening ceremony.
“The completion of the expansion phase of the University Union project marks another milestone in our strategic efforts to elevate and enhance the student experience here at TU,” said Hurte.
Plans for phase two were discussed in Hurte’s speech as well. Hurte explained the renovations of the second phase that will come alongside the eagerly awaited reopening of Paws Cafe.
“Phase [two] is set for completion later this year and includes new homes for campus life, civic engagement, the Student Government Association, and student success programs which houses our nationally-recognized SAGE program and the Center for Student Diversity,” Hurte said.
Jordan Colquitt, the treasurer of the Student Government Association (SGA), represented the organization and made a few remarks. Within his position with the SGA, Colquitt was able to “watch, assist, and experience firsthand the positive impact” that expanding the Union has had for TU.
“I’m proud to attend a university that prides itself on committing itself to better campus life for our students. I’ve seen firsthand the hard work put into making this expansion a reality and I think that I can speak for all TU students when I express my gratitude for this expansion,” Colquitt said.
Following the speeches, those in attendance as well as student passersby were encouraged to look around and see the changes. Complimentary snacks, which included popcorn and an ice cream bar, were provided.
Towson student Taylor James commented that she is impressed with the results of phase one.
“It’s way better in my opinion than what it was before—very old-fashioned looking,” James said. “But the new stuff and bigger spaces and open food market, it seems like a cool place to hang out.”
Phase two is projected to be complete in fall 2022. More details about the project can be found on Towson’s website.