The early days of Student Union

Marizza Espinosa


  Some may believe that the Student Union at CSU Bakersfield was built with the first few buildings of the university. However, the Student Union is a younger addition.   The May 4th, 1994 issue of The Runner presented that the $2.1 million Student Union building was set to open that following Monday.
According to the CSU Bakersfield Student Union webpage, it provides a comfortable place for students to meet nd organize and attend a variety of events. At the heart of the Student Union is a casual lounge, which gives students a fun setting to unwind between classes.
The first time having a Student Union on campus was mentioned was in an issue of The Runner newspaper from Nov. 5, 1975. Some students were against the idea of constructing a Student Union and one in particular said, “There’s not enough time to spend BS-ing in a student union.”
Some students were even concerned that in order to get a student union, we would need a student government.
Then, on the other hand, some students were for its construction. A student, who favored getting a student union on campus said, “A student union gives the students one more place to go and keep them a little more interested in school.”
I believe it’s fair to say that we all enjoy the luxury of the Student Union. Once it was set that there was going to be a student union on campus, that’s when Associated Students, Inc referred to as ASI came in.
According to the CSUB ASI webpage, in spring of 1976 was when students first voted for there to be the first student government at CSUB.
In 1987, it was incorporated as a nonprofit organization.   Throughout the whole process of developing the plans of the Student Union, ASI did a lot of the “dirty” work to get clearance.
When constructing ASI, there was an issue of having the board be completely student-run or have faculty on the board.
In the March 9, 1994 issue of The Runner, CSUB President at the time, Tomas Arciniega, said that “the Student Union must be operated efficiently as a business.”
He also said that “the students have input in the form of the board, and the administration place is to provide continuity and information to the board.”
The Student Union is not how it was  when it first opened. If you walk into the Student Union now, you see Rowdy’s, the televisions, the ping pong table, the microwaves and plenty more. None of those amenities were there when it was created. Currently, they are still making adjustments to make the Student Union even more enjoyable for everyone.
The Student Union isn’t just used for strictly hanging out or a place to eat. The Student Union has three study rooms that students may rent out for an hour or so. The building also holds events for guest speakers, seminars and club-related activities.