Student Union was created in the 1967-1968 school year when students were actively protesting the Vietnam War. The body, originally called the Student Assembly, allocated money to student groups through the Office of Student Activities (now Campus Life). Students were unhappy with the restrictions on their funds and with the limited power they had to allocate money for activities. In the spring of 1968, Kevin Funabashi, an undergraduate student, proposed a new form of government that would utilize a student activity fee to fund student groups. Kevin was elected later that spring to the new governing body, Student Union.
With an original student activity fee of $25, Student Union began to allocate funds to student groups. In 1969, a new Constitution was ratified that covered pertinent topics of the day, such as setting up a bail fund for students who were jailed for protesting against the war. Concert performances by the Grateful Dead and Marvin Gaye helped to raise these funds. During the 1970s, Student Union was a middle ground for coalitions and political parties on campus. Student Union committees were formed to tackle issues such as tuition increases. In 1979, Student Union established office space in the garden level of the Women’s Building, where it resided until 2008 when it moved to the Danforth University Center.
Student Union has grown and changed greatly since the organization was conceived, but it’s purpose remains the same: to be an advocate for students on issues that affect them and to allocate funding to student groups for programming that enriches campus life.
Mission and Vision
The mission of Student Union is to create a vibrant campus community by:
- Advocating for the needs and interests of undergraduate students
- Allocating the student activity fee to unique and engaging activities, programs, and initiatives
- Developing and implementing both innovative and traditional programs
It is the vision of Student Union to responsibly serve and empower every undergraduate student to be a force for change and improvement while fostering and preserving tradition at Washington University in St. Louis.
What We Do
Student Union has accomplished many tangible improvements to the daily experience of undergraduate students and contributes money to many areas of campus life you may not be aware of. Below is a partial list of recent accomplishments and events we fund:
- Resolution calling the creation of a LGBTQ resource center, a staff coordinator responsible for LGBTQ involvement on campus, and allowing for gender neutral housing
- Increase student art on campus through the creation of Residential Areas, Real Art (RARA)
- Advocate for the expansion of the Campus Card (now Bear Bucks) program to off-campus locations
- Provision of free copies of the New York Times, USA Today, and St. Louis Post-Dispatch available daily at several locations on campus
- Contribution for Blood Drives
- Free use of car share for Community Services use
- Provide complete funding for valuable campus services such as Sexual Assault & Rape Anonymous Helpline (SARAH), Uncle Joes, Emergency Support Team (EST), & the Campus Y.
- Advocate for the expansion and upgrade of Wi-Fi networks
- Allocate funding to over 300 student groups and committees to put on large events such as: WILD, Gargoyle Shows, Comedy Shows, Happy Hour, Diwali, Lunar New Year Festival, Carnaval, Vertigo, Art Prom, Mr. WashU, Relay for Life, Dance Marathon, A cappella concerts, Poetry Slams, and much more!
Header Photo: Washington University in 1970 (WUSTL Library Archives)