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‘We need a new student union’: President Clements supports a new union as groups prepare for demolition

David Ferrara, Editor-in-Chief

The Edgar A. Brown University Union was once home to many student organizations and groups, including The Tiger.

After serving 50 years as Clemson University’s student union, the Edgar A. Brown University Union is scheduled for demolition this summer. With the location proposed to become greenspace, some students and staff have signaled an interest in a new union. President Clements agrees.

At a Student Senate meeting last semester, Clements said the University needs a new student union, but it will take some time for funding and approval.

“It’s probably not going to happen while you’re here,” Clements said to the Student Senate about constructing a new union. “It’s going to take a little bit of time, and time is absolutely perfect for these discussions.”

Unlike academic buildings, most of the money will have to be privately raised, according to Clements. A popular student request completed last year, the Cadden Chapel, similarly could not use state funding.

“Feasibility studies are already underway exploring long-term facilities plans – including student-centric spaces,” Philip Sikes, spokesperson for the University, said in a statement to The Tiger. “The University is exploring multiple considerations to best utilize future programmatic and activity space in support of our students and enhancing their experience.”

Sikes pointed toward other recreational and social spaces on campus, including the Hendrix Student Center, the Douthit Hub and the Snow Center. 

Clements emphasized the need for student input, something that the Student Senate has been vocal about in recent semesters.

In October, the body passed a resolution to express its support for developing a new union.

“There has not been a functional Student Union for numerous years,” reads the resolution, SR08. “There is no student union on campus, no approved plan to develop a student union, or a plan to repurpose any buildings for a student-centric space.”

While the campus has the Hendrix Student Center built in the early 2000s, the resolution says the space does not serve all the needs of a student union because of its formal atmosphere and lack of centrality to campus.

“Universities all across the country demonstrate the positive presence of student unions on campus, and in order for us to maintain our status as a top institution, it’s imperative that we have comparable, if not better, student life facilities,” Taylor Uremovich, a student senator and sophomore communication major, stated.

The legislation was passed with the support of Chris Miller, vice president of student affairs, according to Uremovich.

As the University prepares for demolition at the end of this semester, it is unclear where some organizations currently in the old union will move to.

Student Mail Services has already announced plans to move down the road to Dillard Hall and construction is in progress to move Parking Services and the Municipal Court to Gentry Hall, across from Riggs Field.

However, the Clemson Undergraduate Student Government offices and Underground Recreation Center have yet to announce any plans. Organizations displaced as a result of the demolition will have temporary space until a permanent location is found, according to the University.

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