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The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

    Editorial Cartoon: Bailout

    The Martin Luther King Jr. University Union has come a long way from its original start. Celebrating 50 years of growth, the union was constructed in the 1950s. Before the ’50s, there was a small student lounge known as the “Panther Lair” in the late 1890s and early 1900s. A temporary union was established and then after World War II, planning began for the current union, with construction starting in December 1958.

    To celebrate the union’s 50th anniversary, the university has created displays in the University Ballroom of the union and Booth Library which document the history of the building throughout the decades.

    During the years, the union has become a place where students and staff get food, have meetings and events.

    Recent changes have been the installation of an energy-efficient lighting system that turns off if no movement is detected in the room for a period of time.

    “We have put a lot of new technology for student and staff use throughout the University Union,” said Cathy Engelkes, deputy director of the union.

    Student services in the union include a bank, the food court, Copy Express, the bowling alley and a hair salon. The union also provides students with a chance for employment.

    “We hire a lot of students and provide many opportunities,” Engelkes said.

    With the addition of the 7th Street Underground and Cyber Lounge in 2005, the union has increased its accommodations to students.

    New soft seating has been added to different lounge areas of the union in an attempt to give a more comforting work environment, or to just sit and watch the latest shows on the multiple flat screen TVs within the union, Engelkes said.

    Lounging is not the only thing done in the University Union, said Ceci Brinker, director of Student Life.

    “The people who have come and performed in the union are amazing,” Brinker said.

    A large array of entertainers – such big names as Coretta Scott King in 1985, to the Carpenters, Barry Manilow and even the cast of MTV’s “Road Rules” – have come to the union.

    The union also has hosted weddings, receptions, job fairs and blood drives.

    Dan Nadler, vice president for student affairs, said there is an importance for a multi-functioning building and a student union.

    “The future of university centers and of a multi-purpose spaces are in high demand,” Nadler said.

    Joe Wojtysiak can be reached at 581-7942 or at [email protected].

      Editorial Cartoon: Bailout


      (Drawn from news/Chris Lee)


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